Benzene oxide is a substrate for glutathione S-transferases

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Benzene is a known human carcinogen which must be activated to benzene oxide (BO) to exert its carcinogenic potential. BO can be detoxified in vivo by reaction with glutathione and excretion in the urine as S-phenylmercapturic acid. This process may be catalyzed by glutathione S-transferases (GSTs), but kinetic data for this reaction have not been published. Therefore, we incubated GSTA1, GSTT1, GSTM1, and GSTP1 with glutathione and BO and quantified the formation of S-phenylglutathione. Kinetic parameters were determined for GSTT1 and GSTP1. At 37 °C, the putative Km and Vmax values for GSTT1 were 420 μM and 450 fmol/s, respectively, while those for GSTP1 were 3600 μM and 3100 fmol/s. GSTA1 and GSTM1 did not exhibit sufficient activity for determination of kinetic parameters. We conclude that GSTT1 is a critical enzyme in the detoxification of BO and that GSTP1 may also play an important role, while GSTA1 and GSTM1 seem to be less important.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-395
Number of pages6
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
StatePublished - Dec 5 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Bob Carlson for editorial assistance. We thank the laboratories of Natalia Tretyakova and Lisa Peterson for partially furnishing equipment used in this study. This work was supported by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Cancer Institute [Grant CA-138338 ].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd.


  • Benzene oxide
  • Detoxification
  • GSTP1
  • GSTT1
  • Glutathione S-transferase
  • Kinetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Benzene oxide is a substrate for glutathione S-transferases'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this