Nrf2 transcriptionally activates the mafG gene through an antioxidant response element

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Nrf2 accumulates in nuclei upon exposure to oxidative stress, heterodimerizes with a small Maf protein, and activates the transcription of stress target genes through antioxidant response elements (AREs). We found that diethyl maleate (DEM), a well known activator of Nrf2, induces one of the small Maf genes, mafG. To elucidate roles MafG might play in the oxidative stress response, we examined transcriptional regulation of the mouse mafG gene. MafG utilizes three independent first exons that are each spliced to second and third coding exons. Among the small maf genes, mafG showed the strongest response to DEM, and of the three first exons, the highest -fold induction was seen with the proximal first exon (Ic). Importantly, one ARE (Ic-ARE) is conserved in the promoter flanking exon Ic of the human and mouse mafG genes. The Nrf2/MafG heterodimer bound the Ic-ARE and activated transcription, whereas DEM failed to activate mafG in nrf2-null mutant cells. Chromatin immunoprecipitation further revealed that both Nrf2 and small Maf proteins associate with the Ic-ARE in vivo. These results demonstrate that mafG is itself an ARE-dependent gene that is regulated by an Nrf2/small Maf heterodimer and suggest the presence of an autoregulatory feedback pathway for mafG transcriptional regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4483-4490
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Feb 11
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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