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J Biol Chem. 2000 May 26;275(21):16023-9.

Transcription factor Nrf2 coordinately regulates a group of oxidative stress-inducible genes in macrophages.

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Institute of Basic Medical Sciences and Center for Tsukuba Advanced Research Alliance, University of Tsukuba, 1-1-1 Tennoudai, Tsukuba 305-8577, Japan.


Electrophiles and reactive oxygen species have been implicated in the pathogenesis of many diseases. Transcription factor Nrf2 was recently identified as a general regulator of one defense mechanism against such havoc. Nrf2 regulates the inducible expression of a group of detoxication enzymes, such as glutathione S-transferase and NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase, via antioxidant response elements. Using peritoneal macrophages from Nrf2-deficient mice, we show here that Nrf2 also controls the expression of a group of electrophile- and oxidative stress-inducible proteins and activities, which includes heme oxygenase-1, A170, peroxiredoxin MSP23, and cystine membrane transport (system x(c)(-)) activity. The response to electrophilic and reactive oxygen species-producing agents was profoundly impaired in Nrf2-deficient cells. The lack of induction of system x(c)(-) activity resulted in the minimum level of intracellular glutathione, and Nrf2-deficient cells were more sensitive to toxic electrophiles. Several stress agents induced the DNA binding activity of Nrf2 in the nucleus without increasing its mRNA level. Thus Nrf2 regulates a wide-ranging metabolic response to oxidative stress.

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