Sigma-class glutathione transferases

Drug Metab Rev. 2011 May;43(2):194-214. doi: 10.3109/03602532.2011.560157. Epub 2011 Mar 22.


Mammalian cytosolic glutathione transferases (GSTs) can be grouped into seven classes. Of these, the sigma class is also widely distributed in nature, with isoforms found in both vertebrates and invertebrates. It contains examples of proteins that have evolved specialized functions, such as the cephalopod lens S-crystallins, the mammalian hematopoietic prostaglandin D(2) synthase, and the helminth 28-kDa antigen. In mammals, the sigma-class GST has both anti- and proinflammatory functions, depending on the type of immune response, and an immunomodulatory function is also associated with the enzyme from helminth parasites. In the fly, it is associated with a specific detoxication activity toward lipid oxidation products. Mice genetically depleted of the sigma-class GST, or transgenically overexpressing it, have provided insight into the physiological roles of the GST. Inhibitors of the mammalian enzyme developed by structure-based methods are effective in controlling allergic response. This review covers the structure, function, and pharmacology of vertebrate and invertebrate GSTs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytosol / enzymology
  • Glutathione Transferase* / chemistry
  • Glutathione Transferase* / metabolism
  • Glutathione Transferase* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes
  • Organ Specificity
  • Protein Conformation
  • Species Specificity
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Isoenzymes
  • Glutathione Transferase