Zona glomerulosa-specific factor: Cloning and function

Mitsuhiro Okamoto, Hiroshi Takemori, Sunil Krishna Halder, Osamu Hatano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The rat adrenal cortex is composed of three zones: the zona glomerulosa, the zona fasciculata, and the zona reticularis. Several investigators have claimed the presence of a zona intermedia between the zonae glomerulosa and fasciculata. The cells of zona glomerulosa, a few layers of cells just beneath the adrenal capsule, synthesize and secrete aldosterone, whereas those of zonae fasciculata and reticularis secrete glucocorticoids and androgens, respectively. The function of the cells in zona intermedia is unclear, because they express neither aldosterone synthase nor 11 β- hydroxylase. To investigate the mechanism underlying the zonal differentiation of adrenocortical steroidogenesis, attempts have been made to isolate and characterize zone-specifically expressed proteins such as steroidogenic enzymes and putative regulatory factors. Having subtracted the mRNAs present in the decapsulated adrenal gland from those in the adrenal capsule, we successfully isolated three distinct clones, each specifically expressed in the zona glomerulosa. One clone encoded a protein named zona glomerulosa-specific factor (ZOG), which had a putative signal peptide at the N-terminus, six tandem epidermal growth factor (EGF)-like repeats, and a transmembrane domain in the central portion and a short cytosolic stretch at the C-terminus. Immunohistochemical studies using the antibody raised against ZOG confirmed the presence of the protein in all layers of cells in the zona glomerulosa. In contrast, cells possessing aldosterone synthase were prevent only in the periphery of zona glomerulosa, just beneath the capsule. These findings suggest that there are at least two kinds of zona glomerulosa cells in the rat adrenal cortex, one expressing aldosterone synthase as well as ZOG, and another expressing only ZOG. The cells in the zona intermedia did not express ZOG, aldosterone synthase, or 11 β-hydroxylase, but did express Ad4BP. ZOG was not detected in zonae fasciculata and reticularis were 11 β- hydroxylase was present.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)73-76
Number of pages4
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997


  • EGF-like repeat
  • adrenal cortex
  • steroidogenesis
  • zona glomerulosa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Pharmacology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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