gamma-Glutamyl transpeptidase and glutathione biosynthesis in non-tumorigenic and tumorigenic rat liver oval cell lines

Carcinogenesis. 2002 Apr;23(4):671-8. doi: 10.1093/carcin/23.4.669.


Glutathione synthesis and growth properties were studied in the gamma-glutamyl transpeptidase(GGT)-negative, non-tumorigenic rat liver oval cell line OC/CDE22, and in its GGT-positive, tumorigenic counterpart line M22. gamma-Glutamylcysteine synthetase (GGCS) activities were comparable. Growth rates of M22 cells exceeded those of OC/CDE22 cells at non-limiting and limiting exogenous cysteine concentrations. A monoclonal antibody (Ab 5F10) that inhibits the transpeptidatic but not the hydrolytic activity of GGT did not affect the growth rates of OC/CDE22, and decreased those of M22 to the OC/CDE22 level. In GSH-depleted M22, but not in OC/CDE22 cells, the rate and extent of GSH repletion with exogenous cysteine and glutamine exceeded those obtained with exogenous cysteine and glutamate. With Ab 5F10, repletion with cysteine/glutamine was similar to that obtained with cysteine/glutamate. Repletion with exogenous GSH occurred only in M22 cells, and was abolished by the GGT inhibitor acivicin. Repletion with gamma-glutamylcysteine (GGC) in OC/CDE22 was resistant to acivicin whereas that in M22 was inhibited by acivicin. Repletion with exogenous GSH or cysteinylglycine (CG) required aminopeptidase activity and was lower than that obtained with cysteine. Unless reduced, CG disulfide did not support GSH repletion. The findings are compatible with the notions that (i) GGT-catalyzed transpeptidation was largely responsible for the growth advantage of M22 cells at limiting cysteine concentration, and for their high GSH content via the formation of GGC from a gamma-glutamyl donor (glutamine) and cyst(e)ine, and (ii) aminopeptidase/dipeptidase activity is rate-limiting in GSH repletion when GSH or CG serve as cysteine sources.

Publication types

  • Corrected and Republished Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aminopeptidases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Aminopeptidases / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cystine / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Glutamic Acid / metabolism
  • Glutamine / metabolism
  • Glutathione / biosynthesis*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glutathione / pharmacology
  • Kinetics
  • Liver / cytology*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Rats
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / metabolism*


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Glutamine
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Cystine
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase
  • Aminopeptidases
  • Glutathione