1. Digitonin-treated and untreated homogenates, cell extracts and washed microsomal preparations from liver of Wistar R rats are capable of transferring sugar from UDP-glucose or UDP-xylose to bilirubin. No formation of bilirubin glycosides occurred with UDP-galactose or d-glucose, d-xylose or d-glucuronic acid as the sources of sugar. 2. Procedures to assay digitonin-activated and unactivated bilirubin UDP-glucosyltransferase and bilirubin UDP-xylosyltransferase were developed. 3. In digitonin-activated microsomal preparations the transferring enzymes had the following properties. Both enzyme activities were increased 2.5-fold by pretreatment with digitonin. They were optimum at pH6.6–7.2. Michaelis–Menten kinetics were followed with respect to UDP-glucose. In contrast, double-reciprocal plots of enzyme activity against the concentration of UDP-xylose showed two intersecting straight-line sections corresponding to concentration ranges where either bilirubin monoxyloside was formed (at low UDP-xylose concentrations) or where mixtures of both the mono- and di-xyloside were synthesized (at high UDP-xylose concentrations). Both enzyme activities were stimulated by Mg2+; Ca2+ was slightly less, and Mn2+ slightly more, stimulatory than Mg2+. Of the activities found in standard assay systems containing Mg2+, 58–78% (substrate UDP-glucose) and 0–38% (substrate UDP-xylose) were independent of added bivalent metal ion. Double-reciprocal plots of the Mg2+-dependent activities against the concentration of added Mg2+ were linear. 4. In comparative experiments the relative activities of liver homogenates obtained with UDP-glucuronic acid, UDP-glucose and UDP-xylose were 1:1.5:2.7 for untreated preparations and 1:0.29:0.44 after activation with digitonin. 5. Bilirubin UDP-glucuronyltransferase was protected against denaturation by human serum albumin, whereas bilirubin UDP-xylosyltransferase was not. 6. Digitonin-treated and untreated liver homogenates from Gunn rats were inactive in transferring sugar to bilirubin from UDP-glucuronic acid (in agreement with the work of others), UDP-glucose or UDP-xylose.

This content is only available as a PDF.