Quantification of human uridine-diphosphate glucuronosyl transferase 1A isoforms in liver, intestine, and kidney using nanobore liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

Anal Chem. 2012 Jan 3;84(1):98-105. doi: 10.1021/ac201704a. Epub 2011 Dec 5.


Uridine-disphosphate glucuronosyl transferase (UGT) enzymes catalyze the formation of glucuronide conjugates of phase II metabolism. Methods for absolute quantification of UGT1A1 and UGT1A6 were previously established utilizing stable isotope peptide internal standards with liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The current method expands upon this by quantifying eight UGT1A isoforms by nanobore high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with a linear ion trap time-of-flight mass spectrometer platform. Recombinant enzyme digests of each of the isoforms were used to determine assay linearity and detection limits. Enzyme expression level in human liver, kidney, and intestinal microsomal protein was determined by extrapolation from spiked stable isotope standards. Intraday and interday variability was <25% for each of the enzyme isoforms. Enzyme expression varied from 3 to 96 pmol/mg protein in liver and intestinal microsomal protein digests. Expression levels of UGT1A7, 1A8, and 1A10 were below detection limits (<1 pmol/mg protein) in human liver microsome (HLMs). In kidney microsomes the expression of UGT1A3 was below detection limits, but levels of UGT1A4, 1A7, 1A9, and 1A10 protein were higher relative to that of liver, suggesting that renal glucuronidation could be a significant factor in renal elimination of glucuronide conjugates. This novel method allows quantification of all nine UGT1A isoforms, many previously not amenable to measurement with traditional methods such as immunologically based assays. Quantitative measurement of proteins involved in drug disposition, such as the UGTs, significantly improves the ability to evaluate and interpret in vitro and in vivo studies in drug development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Calibration
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Intestines / enzymology*
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism*
  • Kidney / enzymology*
  • Liver / enzymology*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • Isoenzymes
  • UGT1A1 enzyme
  • Glucuronosyltransferase