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J Biol Chem. 2011 Dec 30;286(52):44542-56. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M111.275073. Epub 2011 Nov 9.

Inhibitor of Nrf2 (INrf2 or Keap1) protein degrades Bcl-xL via phosphoglycerate mutase 5 and controls cellular apoptosis.

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Department of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA.


INrf2 (Keap1) is an adaptor protein that facilitates INrf2-Cul3-Rbx1-mediated ubiquitination/degradation of Nrf2, a master regulator of cytoprotective gene expression. Here, we present evidence that members of the phosphoglycerate mutase family 5 (PGAM5) proteins are involved in the INrf2-mediated ubiquitination/degradation of anti-apoptotic factor Bcl-xL. Mass spectrometry and co-immunoprecipitation assays revealed that INrf2, through its DGR domain, interacts with PGAM5, which in turn interacts with anti-apoptotic Bcl-xL protein. INrf2-Cul3-Rbx1 complex facilitates ubiquitination and degradation of both PGAM5 and Bcl-xL. Overexpression of PGAM5 protein increased INrf2-mediated degradation of Bcl-xL, whereas knocking down PGAM5 by siRNA decreased INrf2 degradation of Bcl-xL, resulting in increased stability of Bcl-xL. Mutation of PGMA5-E79A/S80A abolished INrf2/PGAM5/Bcl-xL interaction. Therefore, PGAM5 protein acts as a bridge between INrf2 and Bcl-xL interaction. Further studies showed that overexpression of INrf2 enhanced degradation of PGAM5-Bcl-xL complex, led to etoposide-mediated accumulation of Bax, increased release of cytochrome c from mitochondria, activated caspase-3/7, and enhanced DNA fragmentation and apoptosis. In addition, antioxidant (tert-butylhydroquinone) treatment destabilized the Nrf2-INrf2-PGAM5-Bcl-xL complex, which resulted in release of Nrf2 in cytosol and mitochondria, release of Bcl-xL in mitochondria, increase in Bcl-xL heterodimerization with Bax in mitochondria, and reduced cellular apoptosis. These data provide the first evidence that INrf2 controls Bcl-xL via PGAM5 and controls cellular apoptosis.

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