Pyrophosphatase and glucuronosyltransferase in microsomal UDPglucuronic-acid metabolism in the rat liver

Eur J Biochem. 1976 Jan 2;61(1):165-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1432-1033.1976.tb10007.x.


1. A radiochemical method for the studies on the microsomal UDPglucuronic acid metabolism has been developed. 2. The rat liver microsomes caused a rapid hydrolysis of UDPglucuronic acid to D-glucuronic acid 1-phosphate and further although much slower to free D-glucuronic acid. In Tris-HCl buffer (pH 7.4) they were produced in ratio 72 : 1. No other metabolites were found in measurable amounts. The pyrophosphatase splitting UDPglucuronic acid showed a pH optimum at 8.9, but the liberation of D-glucuronic acid from UDPglucuronic acid had two pH maxima (pH 3.5 and 8.5). EDTA appeared to be less powerful inhibitor of pyrophosphatase than previously suggested. About 25 per cent of the UDPglucuronic acid hydrolyzing activity was still remaining in the presence of 10 mM EDTA. D-Glucaro-1,4-lactone was found to have a slight inhibitory action on the pyrophosphatase activity. Citrate inhibited powerfully the hydrolysis of UDPglucuronic acid and the liberation of free D-glucuronic acid. Phosphate was also inhibitory. 3. In the presence of an exogenous UDPglucuronosyltransferase substrate, 4-nitrophenol, the formation of D-glucuronic acid 1-phosphate and free D-glucuronic acid were slightly reduced, and D-glucuronic acid 1-phosphate, 4-nitrophenylglucuronide and free D-glucuronic acid were produced in ratio 78 : 23 : 1. When 10 mM EDTA was added to diminish the hydrolytic consumption of the glucuronyl donor substrate, the corresponding ratio was still as unfavorable as 19 : 2.6 : 1. The measurable activity of UDPglucuronosyltransferase was lower in the presence of phosphate or citrate than in Tris-HCl buffer, although they protected the glucuronyl donor substrate against hydrolysis. 4. The results indicate that even in the presence of added glucuronyl acceptor substrate the hydrolysis of UDPglucuronic acid predominates the conjugation in rat liver microsomes. The rate of the hydrolysis of UDPglucuronic acid is quite considerable even in the presence of EDTA, and it is recommended to control the UDPglucuronic acid pyrophosphatase activity when UDPglucuronosyltransferase and glucuronidation reactions are studied. Free D-glucuronic acid appears to be produced from UDPglucuronic acid for further use via D-glucuronic acid 1-phosphate, the rate-limiting step being the hydrolysis of this intermediate. UDP-glucuronosyltransferase, glucuronides of either endogenous or exogenous aglycones and beta-glucuronidase have only a minor role in this respect in rat liver microsomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Edetic Acid / pharmacology
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Hexosyltransferases / metabolism*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Kinetics
  • Male
  • Microsomes, Liver / enzymology*
  • Pyrophosphatases / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Uridine Diphosphate Glucuronic Acid / metabolism*
  • Uridine Diphosphate Sugars / metabolism*


  • Uridine Diphosphate Sugars
  • Uridine Diphosphate Glucuronic Acid
  • Edetic Acid
  • Hexosyltransferases
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • Pyrophosphatases