Acute regulation of the bovine gene for the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein in ovarian theca and adrenocortical cells

R Ivell, G Tillmann, H Wang, M Nicol, P M Stewart, B Bartlick, N Walther, J I Mason, S D Morley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Upregulation of the steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) is implicated in the rapid synthesis and secretion of steroidogenic cells to produce steroids in response to stimulation by trophic hormones of the gonadal and stress axes. In the present study, we have assessed the kinetics of both StAR gene transcription and protein biosynthesis in primary cell cultures of bovine adrenocortical and ovarian theca cells, under conditions of acute stimulation by corticotrophin (ACTH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), respectively. In both cell systems, detectable upregulation of StAR gene transcription occurred within 1-2 h, reaching maxima at 4 h (theca cells) or 6 h (adrenocortical cells). mRNA levels returned rapidly to baseline, by 12 h or 24 h, respectively. Specific StAR protein levels were assessed by western blotting using a novel antibody raised against a bovine StAR peptide, and showed a similar fast upregulation, albeit delayed by 1-2 h compared with the mRNA. The response of the cultured theca cells was more acute than that of the adrenocortical cells, possibly reflecting the propensity of the LH receptor to desensitize rapidly, unlike the ACTH receptor. The primary bovine theca cell cultures were also used for fully homologous transfection studies using various deletion promoter-reporter constructs of the bovine StAR gene. Kinetic analysis of the results indicated that the acute transcriptional response resides within the proximal (-315 bp) promoter region, which includes two putative responsive elements for the steroidogenic factor-1. More distal promoter regions may be involved in modulating the specificity of expression by combining enhancer and inhibitory functions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-18
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of molecular endocrinology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2000


  • Adrenal Cortex
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Luteinizing Hormone
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Ovary
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA, Messenger


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