• 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase;
  • subcellular localization;
  • tissue distribution;
  • steroid metabolism;
  • mitochondria

The tissue distribution, subcellular localization, and metabolic functions of human 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 10/short chain l-3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase have been investigated. Human liver and gonads are abundant in this enzyme, but it is present in only negligible amounts in skeletal muscle. Its N-terminal sequence is a mitochondrial targeting sequence, but is not required for directing this protein to mitochondria.  Immunocytochemical studies demonstrate that this protein, which has been referred to as ER-associated amyloid β-binding protein (ERAB), is not detectable in the ER of normal tissues. We have established that protocols employed to investigate the subcellular distribution of ERAB yield ER fractions rich in mitochondria. Mitochondria-associated membrane fractions believed to be ER fractions were employed in ERAB/Aβ-binding alcohol dehydrogenase studies. The present studies establish that in normal tissues this protein is located in mitochondria. This feature distinguishes it from all known 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenases, and endows mitochondria with the capability of modulating intracellular levels of the active forms of sex steroids.