Bacterial cholesterol oxidases are able to act as flavoprotein-linked ketosteroid monooxygenases that catalyse the hydroxylation of cholesterol to 4-cholesten-6-ol-3-one

I. Molnár, N. Hayashi, K. P. Choi, H. Yamamoto, Mitsuo Yamashita, Y. Murooka

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A new metabolite of cholesterol was found in reaction mixtures containing cholesterol or 4-cholesten-3-one as a substrate and extra- or intracellular protein extracts from recombinant Streptomyces lividans and Escherichia coli strains carrying cloned DNA fragments of Streptomyces sp. SA-COO, the producer of Streptomyces cholesterol oxidase. The new metabolite was identified as 4-cholesten-6-ol-3-one based on comparisons of its high-performance liquid chromatography, gas chromatography/mass spectrometry, infrared and proton-nuclear magnetic resonance spectra with those of an authentic standard. Genetic analyses showed that the enzyme responsible for the production of 4-cholesten-6-ol-3-one is cholesterol oxidase encoded by the choA gene. Commercially purified cholesterol oxidase (EC of a Streptomyces sp., as well as of Brevibacterium sterolicum and a Pseudomonas sp., and a highly purified recombinant Streptomyces cholesterol oxidase were also able to catalyse the 6-hydroxylation reaction. Hydrogen peroxide accumulating in the reaction mixtures as a consequence of the 3β-hydroxysteroid oxidase activity of the enzyme was shown to have no role in the formation of the 6-hydroxylated derivative. We propose a possible scheme of a branched reaction pathway for the concurrent formation of 4-cholesten-3-one and 4-cholesten-6-ol-3-one by cholesterol oxidase, and the observed differences in the rate of formation of the 6-hydroxy-ketosteroid by the enzymes of different bacterial sources are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-428
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Microbiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1993 Feb
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Microbiology

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