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Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Feb;25(3):1089-99.

Nuclear oncoprotein prothymosin alpha is a partner of Keap1: implications for expression of oxidative stress-protecting genes.

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  • 1Belozersky Institute of Physico-Chemical Biology, Moscow State University, Moscow 119992, Russia.

Abstract

Animal cells counteract oxidative stress and electrophilic attack through coordinated expression of a set of detoxifying and antioxidant enzyme genes mediated by transcription factor Nrf2. In unstressed cells, Nrf2 appears to be sequestered in the cytoplasm via association with an inhibitor protein, Keap1. Here, by using the yeast two-hybrid screen, human Keap1 has been identified as a partner of the nuclear protein prothymosin alpha. The in vivo and in vitro data indicated that the prothymosin alpha-Keap1 interaction is direct, highly specific, and functionally relevant. Furthermore, we showed that Keap1 is a nuclear-cytoplasmic shuttling protein equipped with a nuclear export signal that is important for its inhibitory action. Prothymosin alpha was able to liberate Nrf2 from the Nrf2-Keap1 inhibitory complex in vitro through competition with Nrf2 for binding to the same domain of Keap1. In vivo, the level of Nrf2-dependent transcription was correlated with the intracellular level of prothymosin alpha by using prothymosin alpha overproduction and mRNA interference approaches. Our data attribute to prothymosin alpha the role of intranuclear dissociator of the Nrf2-Keap1 complex, thus revealing a novel function for prothymosin alpha and adding a new dimension to the molecular mechanisms underlying expression of oxidative stress-protecting genes.

PMID:
15657435
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC544000
Free PMC Article
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