Seminars in cell & developmental biology

Sulfate in fetal development.

PMID 21419855


Sulfate (SO(4)(2-)) is an important nutrient for human growth and development, and is obtained from the diet and the intra-cellular metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids, including methionine and cysteine. During pregnancy, fetal tissues have a limited capacity to produce sulfate, and rely on sulfate obtained from the maternal circulation. Sulfate enters and exits placental and fetal cells via transporters on the plasma membrane, which maintain a sufficient intracellular supply of sulfate and its universal sulfonate donor 3'-phosphoadenosine 5'-phosphosulfate (PAPS) for sulfate conjugation (sulfonation) reactions to function effectively. Sulfotransferases mediate sulfonation of numerous endogenous compounds, including proteins and steroids, which biotransforms their biological activities. In addition, sulfonation of proteoglycans is important for maintaining normal structure and development of tissues, as shown for reduced sulfonation of cartilage proteoglycans that leads to developmental dwarfism disorders and four different osteochondrodysplasias (diastrophic dysplasia, atelosteogenesis type II, achondrogenesis type IB and multiple epiphyseal dysplasia). The removal of sulfate via sulfatases is an important step in proteoglycan degradation, and defects in several sulfatases are linked to perturbed fetal bone development, including mesomelia-synostoses syndrome and chondrodysplasia punctata 1. In recent years, interest in sulfate and its role in developmental biology has expanded following the characterisation of sulfate transporters, sulfotransferases and sulfatases and their involvement in fetal growth. This review will focus on the physiological roles of sulfate in fetal development, with links to human and animal pathophysiologies.

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Adenosine 3′-phosphate 5′-phosphosulfate lithium salt hydrate, ≥60%
C10H15N5O13P2S · xLi+ · yH2O