The predominant forms of the dimeric enzyme glutathione S-transferase were purified from rat liver. Forms YbY′b and YbYb (also known as forms C and A, respectively) could be almost completely inhibited by 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetate (2,4-D). Half-maximal inhibition was obtained at 0.5 mm 2,4-D. Inhibition was seen even at extrapolated infinite concentrations of both substrates for YbYb but not YbY′b. These same forms could also be inhibited 70 to 80% by 2,4,5-trichlorophenoxyacetate (2,4,5-T) with half maximal inhibition occurring at 0.2 mm. Glutathione S-transferase from YaYa was maximally inhibited by 72 and 30%, respectively, by 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. The 30% inhibition of YaYa caused by 2,4,5-T was shown to reduce the nearly complete inhibition caused by a previously characterized inhibitor, namely bile acids. This suggests competition for a common binding site on the enzyme. In contrast to the above results, it was found that form YcYc (also termed AA) was activated 2.7-fold by 2,4,5-T and 1.4-fold by 2,4-D. This activation could be blocked by chenodeoxycholate which, by itself, did not affect the activity of the enzyme. The effects of 2,4,5-T and 2,4-D on the heterodimer YaYc (also termed form B) were intermediate between their effects on YaYa and YcYc, suggesting that each subunit contributes its unique property to the heterodimer. The microsomal membrane-bound form of glutathione S-transferase was also examined and found to be inhibited by both 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T. However, unlike the inhibitions of soluble forms, 2,4,5-T caused more extensive inhibition than 2,4-D. It is concluded that exposure to 2,4-D and 2,4,5-T can limit the ability of glutathione S-transferase forms YbYb and YbY′b to metabolize electrophilic toxins. This capacity to potentiate the toxicity of certain electrophiles indicates a need to study the effect of herbicides on glutathione S-transferases from human tissues.
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