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J Biol Chem. 2001 Apr 13;276(15):11698-704. Epub 2001 Jan 10.

The role of glutathione in the isomerization of delta 5-androstene-3,17-dione catalyzed by human glutathione transferase A1-1.

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Department of Biochemistry, Uppsala University, Biomedical Center, Box 576, SE-751 23 Uppsala, Sweden.


Human glutathione transferase (GST) A1-1 efficiently catalyzes the isomerization of Delta(5)-androstene-3,17-dione (AD) into Delta(4)-androstene-3,17-dione. High activity requires glutathione, but enzymatic catalysis occurs also in the absence of this cofactor. Glutathione alone shows a limited catalytic effect. S-Alkylglutathione derivatives do not promote the reaction, and the pH dependence of the isomerization indicates that the glutathione thiolate serves as a base in the catalytic mechanism. Mutation of the active-site Tyr(9) into Phe significantly decreases the steady-state kinetic parameters, alters their pH dependence, and increases the pK(a) value of the enzyme-bound glutathione thiol. Thus, Tyr(9) promotes the reaction via its phenolic hydroxyl group in protonated form. GST A2-2 has a catalytic efficiency with AD 100-fold lower than the homologous GST A1-1. Another Alpha class enzyme, GST A4-4, is 1000-fold less active than GST A1-1. The Y9F mutant of GST A1-1 is more efficient than GST A2-2 and GST A4-4, both having a glutathione cofactor and an active-site Tyr(9) residue. The active sites of GST A2-2 and GST A1-1 differ by only four amino acid residues, suggesting that proper orientation of AD in relation to the thiolate of glutathione is crucial for high catalytic efficiency in the isomerization reaction. The GST A1-1-catalyzed steroid isomerization provides a complement to the previously described isomerase activity of 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase.

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