Oncogenic Activation of Nrf2, Though as a Master Antioxidant Transcription Factor, Liberated by Specific Knockout of the Full-Length Nrf1α that Acts as a Dominant Tumor Repressor.

Research paper by Lu L Qiu, Meng M Wang, Shaofan S Hu, Xufang X Ru, Yonggang Y Ren, Zhengwen Z Zhang, Siwang S Yu, Yiguo Y Zhang

Indexed on: 20 Dec '18Published on: 20 Dec '18Published in: Cancers


Liver-specific knockout of Nrf1 in the mouse leads to spontaneous development of non- alcoholic steatohepatitis with dyslipidemia, and then its deterioration results in hepatoma, but the underlying mechanism remains elusive to date. A similar pathological model is reconstructed here by using human Nrf1α-specific knockout cell lines. Our evidence has demonstrated that a marked increase of the inflammation marker COX2 definitely occurs in cells. Loss of Nrf1α leads to hyperactivation of Nrf2, which results from substantial decreases in Keap1, PTEN and most of 26S proteasomal subunits in cells. Further investigation of xenograft model mice showed that malignant growth of -derived tumors is almost abolished by silencing of Nrf2, while -tumor is markedly repressed by an inactive mutant (i.e., ), but largely unaffected by constitutive activator (i.e., ). Mechanistic studies, combined with transcriptomic sequencing, unraveled a panoramic view of opposing and unifying inter-regulatory cross-talks between Nrf1α and Nrf2 at different layers of the endogenous regulatory networks from multiple signaling towards differential expression profiling of target genes. Collectively, Nrf1α manifests a dominant tumor-suppressive effect by confining Nrf2 oncogenicity. Though as a tumor promoter, Nrf2 can also, in turn, directly activate the transcriptional expression of to form a negative feedback loop. In view of such mutual inter-regulation by between Nrf1α and Nrf2, it should thus be taken severe cautions to interpret the experimental results from loss of Nrf1α, Nrf2 or both.