Four rat UDP-glucuronosyltransferases (UGTs), UGT2B1, UGT2B2, UGT2B3 and UGT2B6, synthesized in COS-7 cells from appropriate cDNA clones were screened for activity towards a range of bile acids, neutral steroids and retinoic acid. For comparison, as well as optimization of enzymatic assays and product identification, rat liver microsomal preparations from Sprague-Dawley, Fischer 344 and phenobarbital-induced Fischer 344 male rats were also used as enzyme sources. Only two of the expressed proteins, UGT2B1 and UGT2B2, were active in bile acid glucuronidation. UGT2B1 exhibited a high substrate specificity for the carboxyl function of bile acids, whereas UGT2B2 demonstrated less specificity, accepting both hydroxyl and carboxyl functions of bile acids. The preferred substrates for both cloned enzymes were mono-hydroxylated bile acids, followed by di-hydroxylated 6-OH compounds. The levels of UGT activity were sufficient to allow for the identification of the biosynthesized products. The data presented here demonstrate that bile acid glucuronidation is carried out, at least in part, by members of the UGT2B subfamily. Similar results have been obtained previously for neutral steroid glucuronidation. UGT2B3 and UGT2B6 was not involved in BA glucuronidation; none of the cloned enzymes was active toward retinoic acid.