The expression of class alpha, micro, and pi glutathione S-transferases (GSTs) has been examined during the adipose conversion of mouse 3T3-L1 cells. The GSTA4, GSTM1, and GSTP1/2 subunits are expressed constitutively in confluent 3T3-L1 cells, and their levels remain essentially unchanged during adipocyte differentiation. By contrast, the GSTA3 subunit is virtually undetectable in confluent 3T3-L1 cells under basal conditions, but its expression is markedly induced during adipose conversion. Inhibition of the 3T3-L1 adipogenic program demonstrated that GSTA3 expression is associated specifically with acquisition of the adipocytic phenotype. Reporter gene assays demonstrated that the mouse GSTA3 5(')-upstream region is transcriptionally activated by 15-deoxy-Delta(12,14)-prostaglandin J(2) through an antioxidant response element, suggesting that this pro-adipogenic eicosanoid may be involved in regulating GSTA3 expression during adipogenesis. These data suggest a previously unrecognised role for GSTs in mouse adipocytes.