Heterologous expression and functional characterization of avian mu-class glutathione S-transferases

Brett R. Bunderson, Ji Eun Kim, Amanda Croasdell, Kristelle M. Mendoza, Kent M. Reed, Roger A. Coulombe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Hepatic glutathione S-transferases (GSTs: EC2. catalyze the detoxification of reactive electrophilic compounds, many of which are toxic and carcinogenic intermediates, via conjugation with the endogenous tripeptide glutathione (GSH). Glutathione S-transferase (GST)-mediated detoxification is a critical determinant of species susceptibility to the toxic and carcinogenic mycotoxin aflatoxin B1 (AFB1), which in resistant animals efficiently detoxifies the toxic intermediate produced by hepatic cytochrome P450 bioactivation, the exo-AFB1-8,9-epoxide (AFBO). Domestic turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo) are one of the most sensitive animals known to AFB1, a condition associated with a deficiency of hepatic GST-mediated detoxification of AFBO. We have recently shown that unlike their domestic counterparts, wild turkeys (Meleagris gallopavo silvestris), which are relatively resistant, express hepatic GST-mediated detoxification activity toward AFBO. Because of the importance of GSTs in species susceptibility, and to explore possible GST classes involved in AFB1 detoxification, we amplified, cloned, expressed and functionally characterized the hepatic mu-class GSTs tGSTM3 (GenBank accession no. JF340152), tGSTM4 (JF340153) from domestic turkeys, and a GSTM4 variant (ewGSTM4, JF340154) from Eastern wild turkeys. Predicted molecular masses of tGSTM3 and two tGSTM4 variants were 25.6 and 25.8 kDa, respectively. Multiple sequence comparisons revealed four GSTM motifs and the mu-loop in both proteins. tGSTM4 has 89% amino acid sequence identity to chicken GSTM2, while tGSTM3 has 73% sequence identity to human GSTM3 (hGSTM3). Specific activities of Escherichia coli-expressed tGSTM3 toward 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (CDNB) and peroxidase activity toward cumene hydroperoxide were five-fold greater than tGSTM4 while tGSTM4 possessed more than three-fold greater activity toward 1,2-dichloro-4-nitrobenzene (DCNB). The two enzymes displayed equal activity toward ethacrynic acid (ECA). However, none of the GSTM proteins had AFBO detoxification capability, in contrast to recombinant alpha-class GSTs shown in our recent study to possess this important activity. In total, our data indicate that although turkey hepatic GSTMs may contribute to xenobiotic detoxification, they probably play no role in detoxification of AFBO in the liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - C Toxicology and Pharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by USDA-AFRI Competitive grant 2007-35205-17880 from the United States Department of Agriculture Animal Genome Program, and by the Minnesota and Utah Agricultural Experiment Stations .


  • Aflatoxin B1
  • Detoxification
  • Glutathione S-transferases
  • Mu-Class GST
  • Turkey


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