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Bioorg Med Chem. 2018 Nov 14. pii: S0968-0896(18)31686-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2018.11.019. [Epub ahead of print]

Drug screening assay based on the interaction of intact Keap1 and Nrf2 proteins in cancer cells.

Author information

1
College of Life Science, Northeast Forestry University, Harbin, China; Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA.
2
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA.
3
Biomedical Engineering Program and Mechanical Engineering Department, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. Electronic address: guirenwang@sc.edu.
4
Center for Colon Cancer Research, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. Electronic address: kwbarbou@mailbox.sc.edu.
5
Center for Colon Cancer Research, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. Electronic address: fgberger@mailbox.sc.edu.
6
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC, USA. Electronic address: wang263@mailbox.sc.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Nrf2-Keap1 interaction is the major regulatory pathway for cytoprotective responses against oxidative and electrophilic stresses. Keap1, a substrate protein of a Cul3-dependent E3 ubiquitin ligase complex, is a negative regulator of Nrf2. The use of chemicals to regulate the interaction between Keap1 and Nrf2 has been proposed as a strategy for the chemoprevention of degenerative diseases and cancers.

RESULTS:

The interactions between Keap1 and Nrf2 in vitro and in vivo were investigated using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) and bimolecular fluorescence complementation (BiFC) strategies in our study. Nrf2 with its N-terminal fused to eGFP and Keap1 with its C-terminal fused to mCherry were expressed and purified in vitro. When purified eGFP-Nrf2 and Keap1-mChrry proteins were mixed together, a strong FRET signal could be detected, indicating an efficient energy transfer from eGFP to mCherry. Moreover, the FRET was detected in vivo using confocal microscopy in colon cancer HCT-116 cells that were co-transfected with eGFP-Nrf2 and Keap1-mCherry. Finally, using an eGFP BiFC approach, the Keap1-Nrf2 interaction was also detected in MCF7 cells by transfecting eGFP N-terminal fused to Nrf2 (eN158-Nrf2) and eGFP C-terminal fused to Keap1 (eC159-Keap1). Using the BiFC and FRET systems, we demonstrated that the prototypical Nrf2-activiting compound tBHQ and the antitumor drug F-dUrd might interfere with the intracellular interaction between Keap1 and Nrf2 whereas the 5-Fu have little role in activating the protective response of Nrf2 pathway in cancer cells.

CONCLUSIONS:

By analyzing the perturbation of the energy transfer between the donor and acceptor fluorophores and the bimolecular fluorescence complementation of eGFP, we can screen potential inhibitors for the interaction between Keap1 and Nrf2.

KEYWORDS:

BiFC; FRET; Keap1; Nrf2; Protein-protein interaction

PMID:
30473361
DOI:
10.1016/j.bmc.2018.11.019

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