The sulfoconjugation of androstenone and dehydroepiandrosterone by human and porcine sulfotransferase enzymes


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Abstract

HighlightsThe activity of porcine and human sulfotransferases SULT2A1 and SULT2B1 were compared.Human and porcine SULT2A1 had substantially different kinetic parameters for androstenone and DHEA.Androstenone and DHEA were poor substrates for human SULT2B1 isoforms.Porcine SULT2B1 was not involved in sulfonation of androstenone or DHEA.Porcine sulfotransferase 2A1 (pSULT2A1) is a key enzyme involved in the testicular and hepatic sulfoconjugation of steroids such as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) and potentially androstenone. This latter steroid is a major cause of boar taint, which is an unpleasant off-odour and off-flavour in pork from male pigs. Sulfotransferase 2B1 (pSULT2B1) may also be important, although no direct evidence exists for its involvement in sulfoconjugation of steroids. The purpose of this study was to investigate the sulfoconjugation activity of human and porcine sulfotransferases towards DHEA and androstenone. pcDNA 3.1 vectors expressing porcine (p) SULT2A1, pSULT2B1, human (h) SULT2A1, hSULT2B1a, and hSULT2B1b enzymes were transfected into human embryonic kidney cells. Transfected cells were then incubated with either androstenone or dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in both time-course and enzyme kinetics studies. The production of sulfonates of androstenone metabolites and DHEA sulfonate increased over time for all enzymes with the exception of pSULT2B1. Enzyme kinetics analysis showed that androstenone and DHEA were poor substrates for the human orthologs, hSULT2B1a and hSULT2B1b. Human and porcine SULT2A1 showed substantially different substrate affinities for androstenone (Km 5.8 ± 0.6 μM and 74.1 ± 15.9 μM, respectively) and DHEA (Km 9.4 ± 2.5 μM and 3.3 ± 1.9 μM, respectively). However, these enzymes did show relatively similar sulfonation efficiencies for DHEA (Vmax/Km 50.5 and 72.9 for hSULT2A1 and pSULT2A1, respectively). These results highlight the species differences in sulfonation activity and provide direct evidence, for the first time, suggesting that pSULT2B1 is not involved in sulfonation of either androstenone metabolites or DHEA.

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