Tissue-specific promoters regulate aromatase cytochrome P450 expression

Evan R. Simpson, Mala S. Mahendroo, Gary D. Means, Michael W. Kilgore, C. Jo Corbin, Carole R. Mendelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

102 Scopus citations


In the human, estrogen biosynthesis occurs in several tissue sites, including ovary, placenta, adipose, and brain. Recent work from our laboratory has indicated that tissue-specific expression of aromatase cytochrome P450 (P450arom), the enzyme responsible for estrogen biosynthesis, is determined, in part, by the use of tissue-specific promoters. Thus the expression of P450arom in human ovary appears to utilize a promoter proximal to the translation start-site. This promoter is not utilized in placenta but instead, the promoter used to drive aromatase expression in placenta is at least 40 kb upstream from the translational start-site. In addition, there is a minor promoter used in the expression of a small proportion of placental transcripts which is 9 kb upstream from the start of translation. Transcripts from these promoters are also expressed in other fetal tissues including placenta-related cells such as JEG-3 choriocarcinoma cells, hydatidiform moles, and other fetal tissues such as fetal liver. On the other hand, in adipose tissue expression of P450arom may be achieved by yet another, adipose-specific promoter. The various 5′-untranslated exons unique for expression driven by each of these promoters are spliced into a common intron/exon boundary upstream from the translational start-site. This means that the protein expressed in each of the various tissue-specific sites of estrogen biosynthesis is identical.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)321-330
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Issue number4-6
StatePublished - Mar 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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