A microsomal glutathione S-transferase (GST) was purified from human liver. This enzyme was shown to have characteristics similar to those of the rat microsomal GST described by Morgenstern & De Pierre [(1983) Eur. J. Biochem. 134, 591-597]. The specific activity of human microsomal GST towards 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene or cumene hydroperoxide can be stimulated by treating the enzyme with N-ethylmaleimide. This enhancement of activity is accompanied by increased sensitivity to inhibition by haematin and cholic acid. The subunit Mr values of the rat and human enzymes are similar (approx. 17,300), and the proteins are immunologically related. During purification, both human and rat microsomal GST enzymes are the only hepatic proteins obtained from Triton X-100-solubilized microsomal fractions that show activity towards the nephrotoxin hexachlorobuta-1,3-diene. The involvement of microsomal GST in toxification reactions is discussed.

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