3 years ago

TSPO mutations in rats and a human polymorphism impair the rate of steroid synthesis.

Charles Essagian, Alessandro Colasanti, Enrico Campioli, Puvan Suppiah, Enrique Gallego-Colon, Dimitra Kalogiannopoulou, Vincenzo Libri, Andrew Midzak, Ilan Rabiner, Leeyah Issop, Aline Harlay, Sathvika Venugopal, Edward Daly, Jinjiang Fan, David R Owen, Vassilios Papadopoulos, Paul M Matthews, Eduardo Oliver, Les Huson
The 18 kDa translocator protein (TSPO) is a ubiquitous conserved outer mitochondrial membrane protein implicated in numerous cell and tissue functions, including steroid hormone biosynthesis, respiration, cell proliferation and apoptosis.  TSPO binds with high affinity to cholesterol and numerous compounds, is expressed at high levels in steroid-synthesizing tissues, and mediates cholesterol import into mitochondria, which is the rate-limiting step in steroid formation.  In humans, the rs6971 polymorphism on the TSPO gene leads to an amino acid substitution in the fifth transmembrane loop of the protein, which is where the cholesterol-binding domain of TSPO is located, and this polymorphism has been associated with anxiety-related disorders. However, recent knockout mouse models have provided inconsistent conclusions of whether TSPO is directly involved in steroid synthesis. In this report, we show that TSPO deletion mutations in rat and its corresponding rs6971 polymorphism in humans alters adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH)-induced plasma corticosteroid concentrations. Rat tissues examined show increased cholesteryl ester accumulation, and neurosteroid formation was abolished in homozygous rats. These results also support a role for TSPO ligands in diseases with steroid-dependent stress and anxiety elements.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1042/BCJ20170648

DOI: 10.1042/BCJ20170648

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