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Free Radic Biol Med. 2009 Jan 15;46(2):146-53. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2008.09.027. Epub 2008 Oct 9.

Oxidant stress stimulates expression of the human peroxiredoxin 6 gene by a transcriptional mechanism involving an antioxidant response element.

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Institute for Environmental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, 1 John Morgan Building, 3620 Hamilton Walk, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6068, USA.


Peroxiredoxin 6 (Prdx6) is a unique antioxidant enzyme that can reduce phospholipid and other hydroperoxides. A549 cells, a human lung-derived cell line, express both Prdx6 and Nrf2, a transcription factor that binds to antioxidant-response elements (AREs) and promotes expression of antioxidant genes. Treatment of A549 cells with 500 microM H(2)O(2) increased Prdx6 mRNA levels 2.5-fold, whereas treatment with 400 microM H(2)O(2) or 200 microM tert-butylhydroquinone (t-BHQ) triggered a corresponding 2.5-fold increase in reporter gene activity in A549 cells transfected with the pSEAP2:Basic vector (BD Bioscience), containing 1524 nucleotides of the human Prdx6 promoter region. Deletion of a consensus ARE sequence present between positions 357 and 349 before the start of transcription led to a striking decrease in both basal and H(2)O(2)- or t-BHQ-induced activation in A549 cells and H(2)O(2)-induced activation in primary rat alveolar type II cells. Cotransfection with Nrf2 stimulated the Prdx6 promoter in an ARE-dependent manner, whereas it was negatively regulated by Nrf3. siRNA targeting Nrf2 down-regulated reporter gene expression, whereas siRNA targeting the Nrf2 repressor, Keap1, up-regulated it. Binding of Nrf2 to the ARE sequence in chromatin was confirmed by PCR after chromatin immunoprecipitation. These data demonstrate that the ARE within the Prdx6 promoter is a key regulator of basal transcription of the Prdx6 gene and of its inducibility under conditions of oxidative stress.

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