UDP-Glycosyltransferase 3A Metabolism of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Potential Importance in Aerodigestive Tract Tissues. Other Scholarly Work

Vergara, Ana G, Watson, Christy JW, Chen, Gang et al. (2020). UDP-Glycosyltransferase 3A Metabolism of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons: Potential Importance in Aerodigestive Tract Tissues. . 48(3), 160-168. 10.1124/dmd.119.089284

cited authors

  • Vergara, Ana G; Watson, Christy JW; Chen, Gang; Lazarus, Philip

fiu authors


  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are potent carcinogens and are a primary risk factor for the development of lung and other aerodigestive tract cancers in smokers. The detoxification of PAHs by glucuronidation is well-characterized for the UDP-glycosyltransferase (UGT) 1A, 2A, and 2B subfamilies; however, the role of the UGT3A subfamily in PAH metabolism remains poorly understood. UGT3A enzymes are functionally distinct from other UGT subfamilies (which use UDP-glucuronic acid as a cosubstrate) due to their utilization of alternative cosubstrates (UDP-N-acetylglucosamine for UGT3A1, and UDP-glucose and UDP-xylose for UGT3A2). The goal of the present study was to characterize UGT3A glycosylation activity against PAHs and examine their expression in human aerodigestive tract tissues. In vitro metabolism assays using UGT3A2-overexpressing cell microsomes indicated that UGT3A2 exhibits glycosylation activity against all of the simple and complex PAHs tested. The V max/K m ratios for UGT3A2 activity with UDP-xylose versus UDP-glucose as the cosubstrate ranged from 0.65 to 4.4 for all PAHs tested, demonstrating that PAH glycosylation may be occurring at rates up to 4.4-fold higher with UDP-xylose than with UDP-glucose. Limited glycosylation activity was observed against PAHs with UGT3A1-overexpressing cell microsomes. While UGT3A2 exhibited low levels of hepatic expression, it was shown by western blot analysis to be widely expressed in aerodigestive tract tissues. Conversely, UGT3A1 exhibited the highest expression in liver with lower expression in aerodigestive tract tissues. These data suggest that UGT3A2 plays an important role in the detoxification of PAHs in aerodigestive tract tissues, and that there may be cosubstrate-dependent differences in the detoxification of PAHs by UGT3A2. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT: UGT3A2 is highly active against PAHs with either UDP-glucose or UDP-xylose as a cosubstrate. UGT3A1 exhibited low levels of activity against PAHs. UGT3A1 is highly expressed in liver while UGT3A2 is well expressed in extrahepatic tissues. UGT3A2 may be an important detoxifier of PAHs in humans.

publication date

  • March 1, 2020


  • Cell Line
  • Gastrointestinal Tract
  • Glucose
  • Glucuronosyltransferase
  • Glycosyltransferases
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Liver
  • Lung
  • Microsomes
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Respiratory System
  • Uridine Diphosphate Glucose

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)


  • Print-Electronic

start page

  • 160

end page

  • 168


  • 48


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