Glutathione transferase tags toxic molecules, making them easy to recognize and remove.
Mosquitoes and DDT
Exploring the Structure
Glutathione transferases also play a central role in detoxification of drugs. The three structures shown here, all of the same enzyme, show some of the things that can happen. PDB entry 3pgt captures the enzyme as it is detoxifying a potent carcinogen. PDB entry 3csh shows the enzyme attaching glutathione to an anti-cancer drug, reducing its effectiveness. To counteract this and make the drug effective for a longer time, inhibitor molecules like that in PDB entry 3gss can be administered along with the drug to inhibit the action of the enzymes. To explore these structures in more detail, click on the image for an interactive JSmol.
Topics for Further Discussion
- Many structures of different glutathione transferases have been determined and deposited in the PDB archive. Try searching for “glutathione transferase” to see them.
- These enzymes typically have two domains: one that binds to glutathione and one that interacts with the target molecule. When you’re exploring the structure of the enzymes, try looking at a ribbon or backbone diagram to see the two domains.
August 2017, David Goodselldoi:10.2210/rcsb_pdb/mom_2017_8