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Title: Sulfatase  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Arylsulfatase B
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


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Symbol Sulfatase
Pfam InterPro PROSITE PDOC00117
SCOP SUPERFAMILY OPM superfamily OPM protein 1p49

Sulfatases sulfate esters. These may be found on a range of substrates, including steroids, carbohydrates and proteins. Sulfate esters may be formed from various alcohols and amines. In the latter case the resultant N-sulfates can also be termed sulfamates.

Sulfatases play important roles in the cycling of sulfur in the environment, in the degradation of sulfated glycosaminoglycans and glycolipids in the lysosome, and in remodelling sulfated glycosaminoglycans in the extracellular space. Together with sulfotransferases, sulfatases form the major catalytic machinery for the synthesis and breakage of sulfate esters.

Occurrence and importance

Sulfatases are found in lower and higher organisms. In higher organisms they are found in intracellular and extracellular spaces. Steroid sulfatase is distributed in a wide range of tissues throughout the body, enabling sulfated steroids synthesized in the adrenals and gonads to be desulfated following distribution through the circulation system. A large number of sulfatases are localized in the lysosome, an acidic digestive organelle found within the cell. Lysosomal sulfatases cleave a range of sulfated carbohydrates including sulfated glycosaminoglycans and glycolipids. Genetic defects in sulfatase activity can arise through mutations in individual sulfatases and result in certain lysosomal storage disorders with a spectrum of phenotypes ranging from defects in physical and intellectual development.

Three-dimensional structure

The following sulfatases have been shown to be structurally related based on their sequence homology:[1][2][3]

  • cerebroside-sulfatase
  • steroid sulfatase
  • lysosomal enzyme which hydrolyzes cerebroside sulfate;
  • dermatan sulfate;
  • (STS), a membrane bound enzyme which hydrolyzes 3-beta-hydroxy steroid sulfates;
  • heparan sulfate;
  • keratan sulfate;
  • sulfate;
  • glucosamine-6-sulfatase (G6S), which hydrolyzes the N-acetyl-D-glucosamine 6-sulfate units of heparan sulfate and keratan sulfate;
  • sulfate;
  • sea urchin embryo;
  • green algae mineralization of sulfates; and
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Human proteins containing this domain



External links

  • Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)
  • Overview at
  • "Annotation of the sulfatase gene family" at

This article incorporates text from the IPR000917

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