Peptide inhibitors of the Keap1-Nrf2 protein-protein interaction

Rowena Hancock, Hélène C. Bertrand, Tadayuki Tsujita, Shama Naz, Ayman El-Bakry, Jitnueng Laoruchupong, John D. Hayes, Geoff Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Citations (Scopus)


Disruption of the interaction between the ubiquitination facilitator protein Keap1 and the cap'n'collar basic-region leucine-zipper transcription factor Nrf2 is a potential strategy to enhance expression of antioxidant and free radical detoxification gene products regulated by Nrf2. Agents that disrupt this protein-protein interaction may be useful pharmacological probes and future cancer-chemopreventive agents. We describe the structure-activity relationships for a series of peptides based upon regions of the Nrf2 Neh2 domain, of varying length and sequence, that interact with the Keap1 Kelch domain and disrupt the interaction with Nrf2. We have also investigated sequestosome-1 (p62) and prothymosin-α sequences that have been reported to interact with Keap1. To achieve this we have developed a high-throughput fluorescence polarization (FP) assay to screen inhibitors. In addition to screening synthetic peptides, we have used a phage display library approach to identify putative peptide ligands with non-native sequence motifs. Candidate peptides from the phage display library screening protocol were evaluated in the FP assay to quantify their binding activity. Hybrid peptides based upon the Nrf2 "ETGE" motif and the sequestosome-1 "Keap1-interaction region" have superior binding activity compared to either native peptide alone.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)444-451
Number of pages8
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jan 15


  • Cancer chemoprevention
  • Compound screening
  • Fluorescence polarization
  • Free radicals
  • Keap1
  • Nrf2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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