Sulfatases constitute a family of enzymes that specifically act in the hydrolytic degradation of sulfated metabolites by removing sulfate monoesters from various substrates, particularly glycolipids and glycosaminoglycans. A common essential feature of all known eukaryotic sulfatases is the posttranslational modification of a critical cysteine residue in their active site by oxidation to formylglycine (FGly), which is mediated by the FGly-generating enzyme in the endoplasmic reticulum and is indispensable for catalytic activity. The majority of the so far described sulfatases localize intracellularly to lysosomes, where they act in different catabolic pathways. Mutations in genes coding for lysosomal sulfatases lead to an accumulation of the sulfated substrates in lysosomes, resulting in impaired cellular function and multisystemic disorders presenting as lysosomal storage diseases, which also cover the mucopolysaccharidoses and metachromatic leukodystrophy. Bioinformatics analysis of the eukaryotic genomes revealed, besides the well described and long known disease-associated sulfatases, additional genes coding for putative enzymes with sulfatases activity, including arylsulfatase G as well as the arylsulfatases H, I, J and K, respectively. In this article, we review current knowledge about lysosomal sulfatases with a special focus on the just recently characterized family members arylsulfatase G and arylsulfatase K.

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