Distribution of epoxide hydrolase activity in subcellular fractions of livers from male Swiss-Webster mice and Sprague-Dawley rats was monitored with trans-β-ethylstyrene oxide, trans-stilbene oxide and benzo[a]pyrene 4,5-oxide following differential centrifugation. With the former two substrates the highest activity was encountered in the cytosolic fraction; however, significant activity was found in the mitochondrial fraction. These fractions hydrated benzo[a]pyrene 4,5-oxide very slowly, and the major benzo[a]pyrene 4,5-oxide hydrolyzing activity was recovered in the microsomal fraction. Using Triton WR-1339-treated mice, it was shown that trans-β-ethylstyrene oxide hydrolyzing activity was predominantly localized in the mitochondria rather than in lysosomes and peroxisomes. Subsequent separation of the mitochondrial fraction into submitochondrial components by swelling, shrinking, and sonication, followed by sucrose density gradient centrifugation, showed that most of the epoxide hydrolyzing activity was present in the matrix and intermembrane space fraction. Significant activity was also present in the outer and inner membrane fractions. However, epoxide hydrolyzing activity in these fractions was reduced if either increased sonication times were used or the fractions were washed, indicating possible contamination of these fractions by the matrix and intermembrane space enzyme(s). The epoxide hydrolase activity in the mitochondrial and cytosolic fractions in mice appeared similar with regard to inhibition, molecular weight, and substrate selectivity.
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