Regulation of glutathione synthesis

Mol Aspects Med. Feb-Apr 2009;30(1-2):42-59. doi: 10.1016/j.mam.2008.05.005. Epub 2008 Jun 14.

Abstract

Glutathione (GSH) is a ubiquitous intracellular peptide with diverse functions that include detoxification, antioxidant defense, maintenance of thiol status, and modulation of cell proliferation. GSH is synthesized in the cytosol of all mammalian cells in a tightly regulated manner. The major determinants of GSH synthesis are the availability of cysteine, the sulfur amino acid precursor, and the activity of the rate-limiting enzyme, glutamate cysteine ligase (GCL). GCL is composed for a catalytic (GCLC) and modifier (GCLM) subunit and they are regulated at multiple levels and at times differentially. The second enzyme of GSH synthesis, GSH synthase (GS) is also regulated in a coordinated manner as GCL subunits and its up-regulation can further enhance the capacity of the cell to synthesize GSH. Oxidative stress is well known to induce the expression of GSH synthetic enzymes. Key transcription factors identified thus far include Nrf2/Nrf1 via the antioxidant response element (ARE), activator protein-1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor kappa B (NFkappaB). Dysregulation of GSH synthesis is increasingly being recognized as contributing to the pathogenesis of many pathological conditions. These include diabetes mellitus, pulmonary fibrosis, cholestatic liver injury, endotoxemia and drug-resistant tumor cells. Manipulation of the GSH synthetic capacity is an important target in the treatment of many of these disorders.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Glutamate-Cysteine Ligase / metabolism
  • Glutamate-Cysteine Ligase / physiology
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glutathione / physiology*
  • Glutathione Synthase / metabolism
  • Glutathione Synthase / physiology
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological

Substances

  • Glutamate-Cysteine Ligase
  • Glutathione Synthase
  • Glutathione