Considering the physiologic importance of the steroid response, which is regulated in part by steroid levels in a given tissue, relatively little is known about steroid glucuronidation, which is widely accepted as a major pathway involved in the catabolism and elimination of steroid hormones from the human body. In a previous study, it was ascertained that the monkey may be the most appropriate model in which to examine the role of steroid glucuronidation. Northern blot analysis of simian RNA, hybridized with human UGT complementary DNA (cDNA) probes demonstrate the similarity of the transcripts. The simian UGT1A09 cDNA isolated from a liver library is 2396 bp and contains an open reading frame encoding 530 amino acids. The predicted primary structure is most homologous to the human UGT1A9 (hUGT1A9) enzyme, which share 93% identity. Stable transfection of the monkey UGT1A09 (monUGT1A09) cDNA into HK293 cells, expresses a microsomal protein with an apparent molecular mass of 55 kDa. Of the more than 30 endogenous substrates tested, both proteins show the highest activity on 4-hydroxyestradiol and 4-hydroxyestrone, followed by 2-hydroxyestradiol and estradiol. RT-PCR analysis demonstrate that UGT1A9 transcript is expressed in several tissues, which include the prostate, testis, breast, ovary, and skin of the monkey and humans. The expression of UGT1A9 in extrahepatic estrogen-responsive tissues, and its high activity on estrogens is consistent with this enzyme having a role in estrogen metabolism.