Sulfate conjugation is an important pathway in the metabolism of many drugs, xenobiotic compounds, and hormones. Sulfotransferases (SULTs) catalyze these reactions and have been detected and characterized in various human tissues including the liver and small intestine. Substrates for SULTs that include estrogen and thyroid hormones have well-established roles affecting skeletal integrity and disease processes. We performed the following studies to determine the presence of SULTs in human osteoblast-like cells, and to compare their characteristics to SULTs expressed in other human tissues. Four osteosarcoma cell lines (SaOS-2, U2-OS, PR, and HOS-TE85) were screened for the presence of four different SULT activities. Predominant activities were found for SULT1A1 in SaOS-2 cells, and SULT-1A3 in HOS-TE85 cells. Several biochemical properties of each enzyme that included apparent Km values, thermal stabilities, and responses to the inhibitors 2,6-dichloro-4-nitrophenol and NaCl were used to further characterize the SULT activities. High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) of the reaction products confirmed the known products of SULT1A1 and SULT1A3. When the mature human osteoblast HOB-03-CE6 cell line was tested for activity alone, the predominant activity was SULT1A3, with minimal SULT1A1. The results indicate that SULT1A1 and SULT1A3 are present in human osteosarcoma and mature osteoblast cell lines, and that the characteristics of the osteosarcoma cell SULTs are similar to those expressed in other human tissues. SULTs may have regulatory roles in the deactivation of thyroid hormones or estrogenic compounds in bone, and thus may affect hormone action and bone responses in the human skeleton.
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