The transcription factor Nrf2 is degraded through the proteasome pathway, but is stabilized in response to oxidative and electrophilic stresses, and activates cytoprotective enzyme genes through binding to the antioxidant/electrophile response element (ARE/EpRE). Nrf2 inducers thus have considerable potential as therapeutic drugs. Although ARE-driven reporters are commonly employed to validate Nrf2 inducers, these reporters are relatively nonspecific. We have generated a new reporter, Nrf2d-LacZ, which may prove to be a better tool for validation of Nrf2 inducers. We made the Nrf2d-LacZ reporter by fusing the N-terminus of Nrf2 harboring a Neh2 degron to β-galactosidase (LacZ), and compared its activity in immortalized mouse embryo fibroblasts (MEFs) with conventional ARE-luciferase (ARE-Luc) reporters in 293T cells, and in MEFs. Nrf2d-LacZ was degraded in unstressed conditions, but stabilized upon exposure to stresses. LacZ activity was induced by electrophiles in a dose-dependent manner, and the induction was detected much more rapidly compared with ARE-Luc. Nrf2d-LacZ was activated not only by electrophiles but also by a variety of other Nrf2 inducing stresses. Although ARE-Luc was activated by 12-O-Tetradecanoylphorbol 13-acetate in an Nrf2-independent manner, Nrf2d-LacZ was not activated by TPA, thus emphasizing the specificity of the Nrf2d-LacZ reporter system for validation of Nrf2 inducers.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology