Pivotal role of electrophilicity in glutathione S-transferase induction by tert-butylhydroquinone

Yoshimasa Nakamura, Takeshi Kumagai, Chiho Yoshida, Yuko Naito, Masaaki Miyamoto, Hajime Ohigashi, Toshihiko Osawa, Koji Uchida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Citations (Scopus)


Although the induction of glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity by tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ) has been well-documented in several cell culture systems and rodent experiments, the exact mechanism responsible for its inducibility is still not thoroughly understood. To more precisely define the molecular mechanism of GST induction by tBHQ, we examined the one-electron oxidation and glutathione (GSH) reaction potentials of tBHQ as compared to its analogue, 2,5-di-tert-butylhydroquinone (DtBHQ). tBHQ and DtBHQ showed similar one-electron oxidation potentials, including free radical quenching (antioxidant), oxidative conversion of both compounds to a benzoquinone form, and Cu2+-dependent superoxide generation. On the other hand, the reduced GSH level was observed by the addition of tBHQ, but not DtBHQ, suggesting that tBHQ acts as an electrophile while DtBHQ does not. The data were consistent with the observation that tBHQ more potently induced the GSTP1 gene expression in RL34 cells than DtBHQ did. Moreover, we indeed detected the GSH-tBHQ conjugates in the cells exposed to tBHQ using an electrochemical detector - high-performance liquid chromatography technique. Thus, we conclude that an electrophilic quinone oxidation product that reacts with intracellular nucleophiles including protein thiol or GSH plays a major role in the GSTP1 gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4300-4309
Number of pages10
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - Apr 15 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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