Isolation of several hydroxysteroid sulfotransferase (HS-ST) cDNAs from the rat liver cDNA library has demonstrated the possible expression of these HS-ST isoforms in rat liver. We devised a method to detect unequivocally ST- 20 and ST-40 mRNAs by a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, using specific primers. ST-40 mRNA was expressed only in liver, but ST-20 mRNA was present predominantly in the liver and slightly in extrahepatic tissues. On chromatofocusing, expressed ST-20 or ST-40 enzymes were eluted at approx. pH 8.2 and 5.7-4.7 or at pH 6.4-5.4, respectively. Chromatofocusing of adult female rat liver cytosols resolved HS-ST isoenzymes in a broad range of pH, and ST fractions A, B, C, D and E were eluted at approx. pH 8.2, 7.6, 7.5-6.8, 6.2 and 6.1-5.5, respectively. After PAP-agarose affinity column chromatography and SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE), their N- terminal amino acid sequences were determined. ST isoenzymes present in fractions B and E showed identical N-terminal amino acid sequences with those of ST-21 and ST-20, respectively, whereas the ST isoenzymes present in fractions C and D had the same N-terminal amino acid sequence as those of ST- 40 (and/or ST-41). The results demonstrated the presence of at least three HS-ST isoenzymes in adult female rat liver.
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