Human UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs) are expressed in a tissue-specific fashion in hepatic and extrahepatic tissues [Strassburg, Manns and Tukey (1998) J. Biol. Chem. 273, 8719–8726]. Previous work suggests that these enzymes play a protective role in chemical carcinogenesis [Strassburg, Manns and Tukey (1997) Cancer Res. 57, 2979–2985]. In this study, UGT1 and UGT2 gene expression was investigated in human oesophageal epithelium and squamous-cell carcinoma in addition to the characterization of individual UGT isoforms using recombinant protein. UGT mRNA expression was characterized by duplex reverse transcriptase-PCR analysis and revealed the expression of UGT1A7, UGT1A8, UGT1A9 and UGT1A10 mRNAs. UGT1A1, UGT1A3, UGT1A4, UGT1A5 and UGT1A6 transcripts were not detected. UGT2 expression included UGT2B7, UGT2B10 and UGT2B15, but UGT2B4 mRNA was absent. UGT2 mRNA was present at significantly lower levels than UGT1 transcripts. This observation was in agreement with the analysis of catalytic activities in oesophageal microsomal protein, which was characterized by high glucuronidation rates for phenolic xenobiotics, all of which are classical UGT1 substrates. Whereas UGT1A9 was not regulated, differential regulation of UGT1A7 and UGT1A10 mRNA was observed between normal oesophageal epithelium and squamous-cell carcinoma. Expression and analysis in vitro of recombinant UGT1A7, UGT1A9, UGT1A10, UGT2B7 and UGT2B15 demonstrated that UGT1A7, UGT1A9 and UGT1A10 catalysed the glucuronidation of 7-hydroxybenzo(α)pyrene, as well as other environmental carcinogens, such as 2-hydroxyamino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo-(4,5-β)-pyridine. Although UGT1A9 was not regulated in the carcinoma tissue, the five-fold reduction in 7-hydroxybenzo(α)pyrene glucuronidation could be attributed to regulation of UGT1A7 and UGT1A10. These data elucidate an individual regulation of human UGT1A and UGT2B genes in human oesophagus and provide evidence for specific catalytic activities of individual human UGT isoforms towards environmental carcinogens that have been implicated in cellular carcinogenesis.
- heterocyclic amine
- polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
- The Biochemical Society, London © 1999