Molecular and functional characterization of UDP-glucuronosyltransferase 1A in cynomolgus macaques

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Graphical abstractUDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs) are drug-metabolizing enzymes essential for the metabolism of endogenous substrates and xenobiotics. Molecular characteristics of UGTs have been extensively investigated in humans, but in cynomolgus macaques, a non-human primate species widely used in drug metabolism studies, remain to be investigated. In this study, 12 UGT1A cDNAs (UGT1A1, 1A2, 1A4A, 1A4B, 1A5A, 1A5B, 1A5C, 1A6, 1A7, 1A8, 1A9, and 1A10) were isolated and characterized in cynomolgus macaques. UGT1A5C cDNA did not contain a complete coding region due to nonsense mutations, and was excluded from further analysis. Amino acid sequences of all 11 cynomolgus UGT1As had high sequence identities (92–95%) with human UGT1As and were phylogenetically close to human UGT1As. These cynomolgus UGT1A genes shared exons 2–5, and contained a variable exon 1 unique to each gene, similar to human UGT1A genes. Moreover, cynomolgus and human UGT1A gene clusters were located in corresponding regions in the genome. Among the 10 tissue types analyzed, cynomolgus UGT1A mRNAs were most abundantly expressed in the liver, jejunum, and/or kidney, the drug-metabolizing organs, similar to human UGT1As. Among these 11 cynomolgus UGT1A mRNAs, cynomolgus UGT1A2, UGT1A9, and UGT1A10 mRNAs were most abundantly expressed in the liver, kidney, and jejunum, respectively. Cynomolgus liver microsomes and UGT1A proteins catalyzed glucuronidation of the substrates human UGT1As catalyze, including 4-methylumbelliferone, 4-nitrophenol, estradiol, trifluoperazine, serotonin, and propofol, although trifluoperazine glucuronidation was not catalyzed by any cynomolgus UGT1A proteins. These results suggest that cynomolgus UGT1As are functional enzymes with molecular similarities to human UGT1As.

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