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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Congenital lipoid adrenal hyperplasia--genes for P450scc, side chain cleavage enzyme, are normal.

In the most severe form of congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), termed lipoid CAH, both the adrenals and gonads fail to convert cholesterol to pregnenolone, so that no steroid hormones are made. Newborns have female external genitalia irrespective of karyotype, and suffer a severe salt-losing form of CAH. Previous studies have shown that adrenal or gonadal mitochondria from these patients also fail to convert cholesterol to pregnenolone in vitro, implicating a lesion in the single gene for P450scc, which is the sole enzyme converting cholesterol to pregnenolone. Two patients with XY karyotypes had female genitalia and unmeasurable steroids after stimulation with ACTH and hCG. ACTH stimulation tests of parents, obligate heterozygotes, showed normal stimulation of all precursor steroids. Southern blotting patterns of the P450scc gene were normal. Oligonucleotide-initiated enzymatic amplification (PCR) of all P450scc exons showed normal sequences on multiple amplifications and sequencing reactions, indicating normal P450scc genes. Northern blots of testicular RNA from a 6-month-old patient and from a control fetus showed normal P450scc mRNA, indicating a normal P450scc promoter. Reprobing of the blot with our cloned human cDNAs for adrenodoxin reductase and adrenodoxin showed that these electron transport cofactors used by P450scc were also normal. Similarly, probing with cDNAs for all three known factors involved in cholesterol transport to the mitochondria-sterol carrier protein 2, endozepine, and steroidogenesis activator peptide were also normal. These results suggest that the lesion in lipoid CAH is not in the P450scc system or in any known step upstream from P450scc.[1]


  1. Congenital lipoid adrenal hyperplasia--genes for P450scc, side chain cleavage enzyme, are normal. Saenger, P., Lin, D., Gitelman, S.E., Miller, W.L. J. Steroid Biochem. Mol. Biol. (1993) [Pubmed]
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