The coupling reaction of bilirubin with the diazonium salts of ethyl anthranilate or of aniline yields two isomeric azopigments. These can be separated by t.l.c. as their methyl esters. The mass spectra of each pair of azopigments are very similar, showing that they are isomers. Proton-magnetic-resonance spectrometric studies show that they differ in the positions of the substituents on the pyrrolenone end ring; in one compound the methyl and vinyl groups are interposed compared with the other compound. These azo compounds were used as reference standards for determination of the site of conjugation in bilirubin monoglucuronide prepared enzymically. Analysis showed that conjugation occurs at the carboxyethyl side chain of both sides of the bilirubin molecule. During the preparation of the ethyl anthranilate reference compounds a series of minor azopigments were isolated by t.l.c. Analysis of the mass spectra of many of these showed that three side reactions can occur: (1) methylation of the imide carbonyl group; (2) addition of methanol or water to the vinyl substituent; (3) transmethylation of the ethoxycarbonyl group.
- © 1971 The Biochemical Society