Interactions of cytosolic sulfotransferases with xenobiotics

Drug Metab Rev. 2013 Nov;45(4):401-14. doi: 10.3109/03602532.2013.835613.


Cytosolic sulfotransferases are a superfamily of enzymes that catalyze the transfer of the sulfonic group from 3'-phosphoadenosine-5'-phosphosulfate to hydroxy or amine groups in substrate molecules. The human cytosolic sulfotransferases that have been most studied, namely SULT1A1, SULT1A3, SULT1B1, SULT1E1 and SULT2A1, are expressed in different tissues of the body, including liver, intestine, adrenal, brain and skin. These sulfotransferases play important roles in the sulfonation of endogenous molecules such as steroid hormones and neurotransmitters, and in the elimination of xenobiotic molecules such as drugs, environmental chemicals and natural products. There is often overlapping substrate selectivity among the sulfotransferases, although one isoform may exhibit greater enzyme efficiency than other isoforms. Similarly, inhibitors or enhancers of one isoform often affect other isoforms, but typically with different potency. This means that if the activity of one form of sulfotransferase is altered (either inhibited or enhanced) by the presence of a xenobiotic, the sulfonation of endogenous and xenobiotic substrates for other isoforms may well be affected. There are more examples of inhibitors than enhancers of sulfonation. Modulators of sulfotransferase enzymes include natural products ingested as part of the human diet as well as environmental chemicals and drugs. This review will discuss recent work on such interactions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytosol / enzymology*
  • Gene Expression
  • Humans
  • Inactivation, Metabolic
  • Isoenzymes
  • Organ Specificity
  • Substrate Specificity
  • Sulfotransferases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Sulfotransferases / genetics
  • Sulfotransferases / metabolism*
  • Xenobiotics / metabolism*
  • Xenobiotics / pharmacokinetics
  • Xenobiotics / pharmacology


  • Isoenzymes
  • Xenobiotics
  • Sulfotransferases