The glutathione S-transferases are a group of proteins with overlapping substrate specificities and ligand-binding capacities. This report examines certain approaches to the measurement of transferase B (ligandin) in the rat liver. The ratio of catalytic activities toward 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene and 1,2-dichloro-4-nitrobenzene gives some indication of the relative proportions of the various transferases present in 100 000 g supernatants. The fraction of catalytic activity towards 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene, due to transferase B, was best measured by immunoprecipitation with anti-(transferase B). Male rat liver exhibited three times more activity towards 1,2-dichloro-4-nitrobenzene than female tissue; however, the activities towards 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene were almost identical. By assuming a specific activity of 11 mumol/min per mg, immunoprecipitable transferase B comprised 4.5 +/- 0.2% of total protein in the 100 000 g supernatant of female rat liver, and 70% of the transferase activity towards 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene. The amount of transferase B in the 100 000 g supernatant from male rat liver is significantly lower with respect to both fraction of total protein (3.3 +/- 0.2%) and overall transferase activity towards 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene (48%). Hypophysectomy eliminated this sex difference in the hepatic concentration of glutathione S-transferase B.

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