Rat liver glutathione S-transferases have been purified to apparent electrophoretic homogeneity by S-hexylglutathione-linked Sepharose 6B affinity chromatography and CM-cellulose column chromatography. At least 11 transferase activity peaks can be resolved including five Yb size homodimeric isozymes, two Yc size homodimeric isozymes, one Ya homodimeric isozyme, one Yα homodimeric isozyme, and two Ya-Yc heterodimeric isozymes. Distribution of the GSH peroxidase activity among the CM-cellulose column fractions suggests the existence of further multiplicity in this isozyme family. Substrate specificity patterns of the Yb subunit isozymes revealed a possibility that each of the five Yb-containing isozymes is composed of a different homodimeric Yb size subunit composition. Our findings on the increasing multiplicity of glutathione S-transferase isozymes are consistent with the notion that multiple isozymes of overlapping substrate specificities are required to detoxify a multitude of xenobiotics in addition to serving other important physiological functions.
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