The unique glutathione S-transferase (GST) subunit Yx, which is undetectable in normal adult rat liver cytosol, was shown to occur in the liver cytosol of rats with hereditary hyperbilirubinuria (EHB). The Yx subunit is a member of the Alpha-class GST subunits, and is immunologically closely related to the Yc subunit. The Yx subunit has an apparent M(r) of 26,400, different from those of Ya (M(r) 25,800), Yb1 and Yb2 (both M(r) 27,200) and Yc (M(r) 28,400). During postnatal development in livers of EHB rats, the Yx subunit concentration in either sex was highest during the first week post partum and declined rapidly with age. Although the concentration of subunit Yx at 8 weeks of age accounted for about 60% in females and 40% in males of that observed in 1-week-old ‘neonatal’ male EHB rats, concentrations in females thereafter increased gradually to almost the neonatal level and remained at this high level at least up to 37 weeks of age, whereas the concentration in males did not increase again. Thus the post-pubertal Yx subunit concentration was 2-fold higher in females than in males. In contrast, in normal Sprague-Dawley rat liver, the Yfetus subunit, with the same M(r) as the Yx subunit, had the highest concentration in 10-day-old animals, declined rapidly thereafter, and was not detectable in the post-pubertal period. The Yfetus subunit was also immunoreactive with an antibody against GST YcYc. The analysis of GST subunits by reverse-phase h.p.l.c. revealed that the Yx subunit was eluted at a retention time different from other known subunits, but coincided with that of Yfetus. The N-terminal amino acid sequence of the Yx subunit displayed a high degree of sequence similarity to that of the Yfetus subunit. These data suggest that the Yx subunit in EHB rats may be very similar to, if not identical with, the Yfetus subunit.

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