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Biochemistry. 2010 Oct 5;49(39):8499-511. doi: 10.1021/bi100814d. Epub 2010 Sep 8.

Regulation of human carbonyl reductase 3 (CBR3; SDR21C2) expression by Nrf2 in cultured cancer cells.

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Institute of Toxicology and Pharmacology for Natural Scientists, University Medical School Schleswig-Holstein, Kiel, Germany.


Carbonyl reduction is a central metabolic process that controls the level of key regulatory molecules as well as xenobiotics. Carbonyl reductase 3 (CBR3; SDR21C2), a member of the short-chain dehydrogenase/reductase (SDR) superfamily, has been poorly characterized so far, and the regulation of its expression is a complete mystery. Here, we show that CBR3 expression is regulated via Nrf2, a key regulator in response to oxidative stress. In human cancer cell lines, CBR3 mRNA was expressed differentially, ranging from very high (A549, lung) to very low (HT-29, colon; HepG2, liver) levels. CBR3 protein was highly expressed in SW-480 (colon) cells but was absent in HCT116 (colon) and HepG2 cells. CBR3 mRNA could be induced in HT-29 cells by Nrf2 agonists [sulforaphane (SUL, 7-fold) and diethyl maleate (DEM, 4-fold)] or hormone receptor ligand Z-guggulsterone (5-fold). Aryl hydrocarbon receptor agonist B[k]F failed to induce CBR3 mRNA after incubation for 8 h but elevated CBR3 levels after 24 h, most likely mediated by B[k]F metabolites that can activate Nrf2 signaling. Inhibition of Nrf2-activating upstream kinase MEK/ERK by PD98059 weakened DEM-mediated induction of CBR3 mRNA. Proteasome inhibitors MG-132 (5 μM) and bortezomib (50 nM) dramatically increased the level of CBR3 mRNA, obviously because of the increase in the level of Nrf2 protein. While siRNA-mediated knockdown of Nrf2 led to a decrease in the level of CBR3 mRNA in A549 cells (30% of control), Keap1 knockdown increased the level of CBR3 mRNA expression in HepG2 (9.3-fold) and HT-29 (2.7-fold) cells. Here, we provide for the first time evidence that human CBR3 is a new member of the Nrf2 gene battery.

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