The cDNA encoding human glutathione S-transferase (GST) T1 has been expressed as two recombinant forms in Escherichia coli that could be purified by affinity chromatography on either IgG-Sepharose or nickel-agarose; one form of the transferase was synthesized from the pALP 1 expression vector as a Staphylococcus aureus protein A fusion, whereas the other form was synthesized from the pET-20b expression vector as a C-terminal polyhistidine-tagged recombinant. The yields of the two purified recombinant proteins from E. coli cultures were approx. 15 mg/l for the protein A fusion and 25 mg/l for the C-terminal polyhistidine-tagged GST T1-1. The purified recombinant proteins were catalytically active, although the protein A fusion was typically only 5–30% as active as the histidine-tagged GST. Both recombinant forms could catalyse the conjugation of glutathione with the model substrates 1,2-epoxy-3-(4′-nitrophenoxy)propane, 4-nitrobenzyl chloride and 4-nitrophenethyl bromide but were inactive towards 1-chloro-2,4-dinitrobenzene, ethacrynic acid and 1-menaphthyl sulphate. Recombinant human GST T1-1 was found to exhibit glutathione peroxidase activity and could catalyse the reduction of cumene hydroperoxide. In addition, recombinant human GST T1-1 was found to conjugate glutathione with dichloromethane, a pulmonary and hepatic carcinogen in the mouse. Immunoblotting with antibodies raised against different transferase isoenzymes showed that GST T1-1 is expressed in a large number of human organs in a tissue-specific fashion that differs from the pattern of expression of classes Alpha, Mu and Pi GST. Most significantly, GST T1-1 was found in only low levels in human pulmonary soluble extract of cells, suggesting that in man the lung has little capacity to activate the volatile dichloromethane.

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Author notes

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Present address: Department of Safety of Medicines, Zeneca Pharmaceuticals, Alderley Park, Macclesfield, Cheshire SK10 4TG, U.K.