Normal rat liver expresses Ya (Mr 25,500), Yc (Mr 27,500) and Yk (Mr 25,000) Class Alpha glutathione S-transferase (GST) subunits. The Ya-type subunit can be resolved into two separate polypeptides, designated Ya1 and Ya2, by reverse-phase h.p.l.c. In rat livers that possess aflatoxin B1-induced pre-neoplastic nodules, a marked increase is observed in the expression of Ya1, Ya2, Yc and Yk; of these subunits, Ya2 exhibited the greatest increase in concentration. The Ya1 and Ya2 subunits isolated from nodule-bearing livers were cleaved with CNBr, and the purified peptides were subjected to automated amino-acid-sequence analysis. Differences in the primary structures of the two Ya GST subunits were found at positions 31, 34, 107 and 117. These data demonstrate that Ya1 and Ya2 are distinct polypeptides and are the products of separate genes. The amino acid sequences obtained from Ya1 and Ya2 were compared with the cloned cDNAs pGTB 38 [Pickett, Telakowski-Hopkins, Ding, Argenbright & Lu (1984) J. Biol. Chem. 259, 4112-4115] and pGTR 261 [Lai, Li, Weiss, Reddy & Tu (1984) J. Biol. Chem. 259, 5182-5188], which encode rat Ya-type subunits. From these comparisons it appears probable that Ya1 represents the GST subunit encoded by pGTR 261, whereas Ya2 represents the subunit encoded by pGTB 38. It is likely that the over-expression of Ya1 and Ya2 in nodule-bearing livers is of major significance in the acquired resistance of nodules to aflatoxin B1, since previous work [Coles, Meyer, Ketterer, Stanton & Garner (1985) Carcinogenesis 6, 693-697] has shown that the Ya-type GST subunit has high activity towards aflatoxin B1 8,9-epoxide.

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