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Cytogenet Genome Res. 2008;123(1-4):205-10. doi: 10.1159/000184710. Epub 2009 Mar 11.

Sulfotransferase gene copy number variation: pharmacogenetics and function.

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  • 1Division of Clinical Pharmacology, Department of Molecular Pharmacology & Experimental Therapeutics, Mayo Medical School - Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA.


Pharmacogenetics is the study of the role of inheritance in variation to drug response. Drug response phenotypes can vary from adverse drug reactions at one end of the spectrum to equally serious lack of the desired effect of drug therapy at the other. Many of the current important examples of pharmacogenetics involve inherited variation in drug metabolism. Sulfate conjugation catalyzed by cytosolic sulfotransferase (SULT) enzymes, particularly SULT1A1, is a major pathway for drug metabolism in humans. Pharmacogenetic studies of SULT1A1 began over a quarter of a century ago and have advanced from biochemical genetic experiments to include cDNA and gene cloning, gene resequencing, and functional studies of the effects of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs). SNP genotyping, in turn, led to the discovery of functionally important copy number variations (CNVs) in the SULT1A1 gene. This review will briefly describe the evolution of our understanding of SULT1A1 pharmacogenetics and CNV, as well as challenges involved in utilizing both SNP and CNV data in an attempt to predict SULT1A1 function. SULT1A1 represents one example of the potential importance of CNV for the evolving disciplines of pharmacogenetics and pharmacogenomics.

Copyright 2009 S. Karger AG, Basel.

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