Journal of Biological Chemistry vol:262 issue:10 pages:4616-23
Conjugation of natural bilirubin (BR) depends on a hepatic microsomal UDP-glycosyltransferase using UDP-Glc, UDP-xylose, and predominantly UDP-GlcA. We found that esterification of BR occurred when washed intact microsomes derived from rat or guinea pig liver were incubated with BR in the absence of added UDP-sugar. This endogenous esterification was shown to lead predominantly to formation of the two positional isomers of BR monoglucoside and displayed the same regioselectivity as found for the BR monoglucosides formed by microsomes incubated with a saturating concentration of added UDP-Glc. This finding and absence of endogenous esterification in liver microsomes from mutant rats lacking BR UDP-glycosyltransferase activities demonstrated that endogenous esterification depended on UDP-glycosyltransferase and indicated, therefore, that UDP-Glc was present in the intact microsomal vesicles. With UDP-Glc added to the extramicrosomal incubation medium, BR glucosidation was markedly enhanced when the membrane permeability barrier was disrupted by pretreatment of the microsomes with detergent, sonication, or Staphylococcus aureus alpha-toxin. In contrast, such membrane disruption resulted in abolishment of endogenous esterification of BR, and a direct relationship was found between impairment of endogenous esterification and degree of vesicle disruption, suggesting that the UDP-Glc on which endogenous esterification depended was present in the lumenal space of the microsomes. Kinetic evidence and absence of an effect of increasing the microsomal concentration of dolichol-P-Glc (Dol-P-Glc) on endogenous esterification excluded direct or indirect involvement of Dol-P-Glc in the endogenous esterification reaction. Preincubation of intact microsomes with UDP-Glc or UDP-xylose at 37 degrees C, but not at 0 degrees C, led to expansion of the microsomal UDP-sugar pool on which endogenous esterification depended, suggesting that both UDP-sugars can enter the microsomal vesicles by a temperature-dependent mechanism. In contrast to these findings, no increase of BR esterification was detected when the microsomes had been preincubated at 37 degrees C with UDP-GlcA. We conclude that native, intact microsomes contain a lumenal pool of endogenous UDP-Glc and that BR UDP-glucosyltransferase and UDP-xylosyltransferase, by virtue of a lumenal orientation, have direct access to the postulated intramicrosomal pool of nucleotide sugar.