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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2011 Nov;127(3-5):315-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2011.07.010. Epub 2011 Aug 6.

Site-directed mutagenesis of human cytosolic sulfotransferase (SULT) 2B1b to phospho-mimetic Ser348Asp results in an isoform with increased catalytic activity.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, United States.


Human SULT2B1b is distinct from other SULT isoforms due to the presence of unique amino (N)- and carboxy (C)-terminal peptides. Using site-directed mutagenesis, it was determined that phosphorylation of Ser348 was associated with nuclear localization. To investigate the effects of this phosphorylation of Ser348 on activity and cellular localization, an in silico molecular mimic was generated by mutating Ser348 to an Asp. The Asp residue mimics the shape and charge of a phospho-Ser and homology models of SULT2B1b-phospho-S348 and SULT2B1b-S348D suggest a similar significant structural rearrangement in the C-terminal peptide. To evaluate the functional consequences of this post-translational modification and predicted rearrangement, 6His-SULT2B1b-S348D was synthesized, expressed, purified and characterized. The 6His-SULT2B1b-S348D has a specific activity for DHEA sulfation ten-fold higher than recombinant 6His-SULT2B1b (209.6 and 21.8pmolmin(-1)mg(-1), respectively). Similar to native SULT2B1b, gel filtration chromatography showed SULT2B1b-S348D was enzymatically active as a homodimer. Stability assays comparing SULT2B1b and SUL2B1b-S348 demonstrated that SULT2B1b is 60% less thermostable than SULT2B1b-348D. The increased stability and sulfation activity allowed for better characterization of the sulfation kinetics for putative substrates as well as the determination of dissociation constants that were difficult to obtain with wild-type (WT) 6His-SULT2B1b. The K(D)s for DHEA and PAPS binding to 6His-SULT2B1b-S348D were 650±7nM and 265±4nM, respectively, whereas K(D)s for binding of substrates to the WT enzyme could not be determined. Characterization of the molecular mimic SULT2B1b-S348D provides a better understanding for the role of the unique structure of SULT2B1b and its effect on sulfation activity, and has allowed for improved kinetic characterization of the SULT2B1b enzyme.

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