Tissue distribution and ontogeny of sulfotransferase enzymes in mice

Toxicol Sci. 2006 Oct;93(2):242-55. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfl050. Epub 2006 Jun 28.


Sulfotransferases (Sults) are phase-II conjugation enzymes that catalyze the transfer of a sulfonate group from 3'-phosphoadenosine 5'-phosphosulfate (PAPS) to target endo and xenobiotics. PAPS is formed from inorganic sulfate by the action of the enzyme PAPS synthase (PAPSs). In the present study, the tissue distribution and developmental changes in the mRNA expression of 11 Sult isozymes and 2 PAPSs isoforms in mice were quantified. Sult1a1, 1b1, 1c1, 1c2, 1d1, 1e1, 2a1/2, 2b1, 3a1, 4a1, 5a1, PAPSs1, and PAPSs2 mRNA expression was quantified in 14 tissues from male and female mice using the branched DNA signal amplification assay. Sult2a1/2 and 3a1 expression were highest in liver; Sult1b1, 2b1, and PAPSs2 in small intestine; Sult1a1 in large intestine; Sult1c2 in stomach; Sult1d1 in kidney; Sult1e1 in placenta; and Sult4a1 in brain. Sult1c1, 5a1, and PAPSs1 were ubiquitously expressed in most tissues. These enzymes demonstrated three different ontogenic expression patterns in liver. Sult1a1, 1c2, 1d1, 2a1/2, and PAPSs2 hepatic expression gradually increased from birth until about 3 weeks of age and then declined somewhat thereafter, Sult1c1 expression was highest before birth and declined after that, and Sult3a1 mRNA expression was very low in fetal livers and remained low until 30 days of age, when expression in females dramatically increased, whereas it never increased in males. The organ-specific distribution of Sults as well as the different expression of the Sults in young animals may affect the pharmacokinetic behavior and organ-specific toxicity of xenobiotics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Kidney / enzymology
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Multienzyme Complexes / analysis
  • Multienzyme Complexes / genetics*
  • Organ Specificity
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Sulfate Adenylyltransferase / analysis
  • Sulfate Adenylyltransferase / genetics*
  • Sulfotransferases / analysis
  • Sulfotransferases / genetics*
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Multienzyme Complexes
  • RNA, Messenger
  • PAPS synthetase
  • Sulfate Adenylyltransferase
  • Sulfotransferases