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Nat Chem Biol. 2009 Sep;5(9):664-72. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.194. Epub 2009 Aug 2.

Redox-sensitive cysteines bridge p300/CBP-mediated acetylation and FoxO4 activity.

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Department of Physiological Chemistry, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Cellular damage invoked by reactive oxygen species plays a key role in the pathobiology of cancer and aging. Forkhead box class O (FoxO) transcription factors are involved in various cellular processes including cell cycle regulation, apoptosis and resistance to reactive oxygen species, and studies in animal models have shown that these transcription factors are of vital importance in tumor suppression, stem cell maintenance and lifespan extension. Here we report that the activity of FoxO in human cells is directly regulated by the cellular redox state through a unique mechanism in signal transduction. We show that reactive oxygen species induce the formation of cysteine-thiol disulfide-dependent complexes of FoxO and the p300/CBP acetyltransferase, and that modulation of FoxO biological activity by p300/CBP-mediated acetylation is fully dependent on the formation of this redox-dependent complex. These findings directly link cellular redox status to the activity of the longevity protein FoxO.

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