Four immunologically distinct subunits were characterized in glutathione (GSH) S-transferases of human liver. Five cationic enzymes (pI 8.9, 8.5, 8.3, 8.2 and 8.0) have an apparently similar subunit composition, and are dimers of 26 500-Mr (A) and 24 500-Mr (B) subunits. A neutral enzyme, pI 6.8, is a dimer of B-type subunits. One of the anionic enzymes, pI 5.5, is also a dimer of 26 500-Mr subunits. However, the 26 500-Mr subunits of this anionic enzyme form are immunologically distinct from the A subunits of the cationic enzymes, and have been designated as A'. Immunoabsorption studies with the neutral enzyme, BB, and the antibodies raised against the cationic enzymes (AB) indicate that A and B subunits are immunologically distinct. Hybridization in vitro of the A and B subunits of the cationic enzymes (AB) results in the expected binary combinations of AA, AB and BB. Studies with the hybridized enzyme forms indicate that only the A subunits express GSH peroxidase activity. A' subunits have maximum affinity for p-nitrobenzyl chloride and p-nitrophenyl acetate, and the B subunits have highest activity towards 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene. The other anionic form, pI 4.5, present in liver is a heterodimer of 22 500-Mr (C) and B subunits. The C subunits of this enzyme are probably the same as the 22 500-Mr subunits present in human lung and placental GSH transferases. The distinct immunological nature of B and C subunits was also demonstrated by immunoaffinity and subunit-hybridization studies. The results of two-dimensional polyacrylamide-gel-electrophoretic analyses indicate that in human liver GSH transferases, three charge isomers of Mr 26 500 (A type), two charge isomers of Mr 24 500 (B type) and two charge isomers of Mr 22 500 (C type) subunits are present.

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