Inhibition of hepatic and extrahepatic glutathione S-transferases by primary and secondary bile acids

J D Hayes, T J Mantle

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    39 Citations (Scopus)


    Glutathione S-transferases are a complex family of dimeric proteins that play a dual role in cellular detoxification; they catalyse the first step in the synthesis of mercapturic acids, and they bind potentially harmful non-substrate ligands. Bile acids are quantitatively the major group of ligands encountered by the glutathione S-transferases. The enzymes from rat liver comprise Yk (Mr 25 000), Ya (Mr 25 500), Yn (Mr 26 500), Yb1, Yb2 (both Mr 27 000) and Yc (Mr 28 500) monomers. Although bile acids inhibited the catalytic activity of all transferases studied, the concentration of a particular bile acid required to produce 50% inhibition (I50) varies considerably. A comparison of the I50 values obtained with lithocholate (monohydroxylated), chenodeoxycholate (dihydroxylated) and cholate (trihydroxylated) showed that, in contrast with all other transferase monomers, the Ya subunit possesses a relatively hydrophobic bile-acid-binding site. The I50 values obtained with lithocholate and lithocholate 3-sulphate showed that only the Ya subunit is inhibited more effectively by lithocholate than by its sulphate ester. Other subunits (Yk, Yn, Yb1 and Yb2) were inhibited more by lithocholate 3-sulphate than by lithocholate, indicating the existence of a significant ionic interaction, in the bile-acid-binding domain, between (an) amino acid residue(s) and the steroid ring A. By contrast, increasing the assay pH from 6.0 to 7.5 decreased the inhibitory effect of all bile acids studied, suggesting that there is little significant ionic interaction between transferase subunits and the carboxy group of bile acids. Under alkaline conditions, low concentrations (sub-micellar) of nonsulphated bile acids activated Yb1, Yb2 and Yc subunits but not Yk, Ya and Yn subunits. The diverse effects of the various bile acids studied on transferase activity enables these ligands to be used to help establish the quaternary structure of individual enzymes. Since these inhibitors can discriminate between transferases that appear to be immunochemically identical (e.g. transferases F and L), bile acids can provide information about the subunit composition of forms that cannot otherwise be distinguished.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)407-15
    Number of pages9
    JournalBiochemical Journal
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 1986


    • Animals
    • Bile Acids and Salts/pharmacology
    • Glutathione Transferase/antagonists & inhibitors
    • Isoenzymes/antagonists & inhibitors
    • Kidney/enzymology
    • Lithocholic Acid/analogs & derivatives
    • Liver/enzymology
    • Male
    • Rats
    • Rats, Inbred Strains
    • Testis/enzymology


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