The novel UDP glycosyltransferase 3A2: cloning, catalytic properties, and tissue distribution

Peter Mackenzie, Anne Rogers, David Elliot, Nuy Chau, Julie-Ann Hulin, John Miners, Robyn Meech

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    64 Citations (Scopus)


    The human UDP glycosyltransferase (UGT) 3A family is one of three families involved in the metabolism of small lipophilic compounds. Members of these families catalyze the addition of sugar residues to chemicals, which enhances their excretion from the body. The UGT1 and UGT2 family members primarily use UDP glucuronic acid to glucuronidate numerous compounds, such as steroids, bile acids, and therapeutic drugs. We showed recently that UGT3A1, the first member of the UGT3 family to be characterized, is unusual in using UDP N-acetylglucosamine as sugar donor, rather than UDP glucuronic acid or other UDP sugar nucleotides (J Biol Chem 283:36205-36210, 2008). Here, we report the cloning, expression, and characterization of UGT3A2, the second member of the UGT3 family. Like UGT3A1, UGT3A2 is inactive with UDP glucuronic acid as sugar donor. However, in contrast to UGT3A1, UGT3A2 uses both UDP glucose and UDP xylose but not UDP N-acetylglucosamine to glycosidate a broad range of substrates including 4-methylumbelliferone, 1-hydroxypyrene, bioflavones, and estrogens. It has low activity toward bile acids and androgens. UGT3A2 transcripts are found in the thymus, testis, and kidney but are barely detectable in the liver and gastrointestinal tract. The low expression of UGT3A2 in the latter, which are the main organs of drug metabolism, suggests that UGT3A2 has a more selective role in protecting the organs in which it is expressed against toxic insult rather than a more generalized role in drug metabolism. The broad substrate and novel UDP sugar specificity of UGT3A2 would be advantageous for such a function.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)472-478
    Number of pages7
    JournalMolecular Pharmacology
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


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