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Biochem Pharmacol. 2000 Jun 1;59(11):1433-9.

Nrf2 and c-Jun regulation of antioxidant response element (ARE)-mediated expression and induction of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase heavy subunit gene.

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Department of Pharmacology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


gamma-Glutamylcysteine synthetase (gamma-GCS) is a rate-limiting enzyme in the de novo synthesis of glutathione, a known scavenger of electrophiles and reactive oxygen species (ROS). The gamma-GCS gene is expressed ubiquitously and induced coordinately with NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase(1) (NQO1) and glutathione S-transferase Ya (GST Ya) in response to xenobiotics and antioxidants. The antioxidant response element (ARE) is required for expression and induction of these genes. In the current report, we demonstrated that ARE-mediated gamma-GCS gene expression and induction is regulated by similar Nrf and Jun factors as reported earlier for the NQO1 and GST Ya genes. The gamma-GCS gene ARE competed with the binding of nuclear proteins (Nrf + Jun) to the NQO1 gene ARE (hARE). In addition, the overexpression of Nrf2 and Nrf1 with c-Jun significantly up-regulated gamma-GCS ARE-mediated basal expression and beta-naphthoflavone induction of the chloramphenicol acetyltransferase gene in transfected HepG2 cells. Interestingly, Nrf2 + c-Jun was more effective than Nrf1 + c-Jun in the regulation of ARE-mediated gamma-GCS gene expression. Further experiments demonstrated that the c-Jun level within the cells is an important determinant of the level of ARE-mediated gamma-GCS gene expression. Therefore, at higher concentrations of c-Jun, gamma-GCS gene expression is repressed, presumably due to generation of a sufficient amount of c-Jun + c-Fos complex that interferes with the binding of Nrf2 + c-Jun complex to the ARE.

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