Identification and characterization of a 20β-HSDH from the anaerobic gut bacterium Butyricicoccus desmolans ATCC 43058

Saravanan Devendran, Celia Méndez-García, Jason M. Ridlon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Members of the gastrointestinal microbiota are known to convert glucocorticoids to androstanes, which are subsequently converted to potent androgens by other members of the gut microbiota or host tissues. Butyricicoccus desmolans and Clostridium cadaveris have previously been reported for steroid-17,20-desmolase and 20β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSDH) activities that are responsible for androstane formation from cortisol; however, the genes encoding these enzymes have yet to be reported. In this work, we identified and located a gene encoding 20β-HSDH in both B. desmolans and C. cadaveris. The 20β-HSDH of B. desmolans was heterologously overexpressed and purified from Escherichia coli. The enzyme was determined to be a homotetramer with subunit molecular mass of 33.8 ± 3.7 kDa. The r20β-HSDH displayed pH optimum in the reductive direction at pH 9.0 and in the oxidative direction at pH 7.0-7.5 with (20β-dihydro)cortisol and NAD(H) as substrates. Cortisol is the preferred substrate with Km, 0.80 ± 0.06 μM; Vmax, 30.36 ± 1.97 μmol·min-1; Kcat, 607 ± 39 μmol·μM-1·min-1; Kcat/Km, 760 ± 7.67. Phylogenetic analysis of the 20β-HSDH from B. desmolans suggested that the 20β-HSDH is found in several Bifidobacterium spp., one of which was shown to express 20β-HSDH activity. Notably, we also identified a novel steroid-17,20-desmolase-elaborating bacterium, Propionimicrobium lymphophilum, a normal inhabitant of the urinary tract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)916-925
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • 20β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase
  • American Type Culture Collection
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Gut microbiota

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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