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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1996 Dec 10;93(25):14960-5.

Nrf1 and Nrf2 positively and c-Fos and Fra1 negatively regulate the human antioxidant response element-mediated expression of NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase1 gene.

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Department of Pharmacology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA 19111, USA.


Twenty-four base pairs of the human antioxidant response element (hARE) are required for high basal transcription of the NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase1 (NQO1) gene and its induction in response to xenobiotics and antioxidants. hARE is a unique cis-element that contains one perfect and one imperfect AP1 element arranged as inverse repeats separated by 3 bp, followed by a "GC" box. We report here that Jun, Fos, Fra, and Nrf nuclear transcription factors bind to the hARE. Overexpression of cDNA derived combinations of the nuclear proteins Jun and Fos or Jun and Fra1 repressed hARE-mediated chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) gene expression in transfected human hepatoblastoma (Hep-G2) cells. Further experiments suggested that this repression was due to overexpression of c-Fos and Fra1, but not due to Jun proteins. The Jun (c-Jun, Jun-B, and Jun-D) proteins in all the possible combinations were more or less ineffective in repression or upregulation of hARE-mediated gene expression. Interestingly, overexpression of Nrf1 and Nrf2 individually in Hep-G2 and monkey kidney (COS1) cells significantly increased CAT gene expression from reporter plasmid hARE-thymidine kinase-CAT in transfected cells that were inducible by beta-naphthoflavone and teri-butyl hydroquinone. These results indicated that hARE-mediated expression of the NQO1 gene and its induction by xenobiotics and antioxidants are mediated by Nrf1 and Nrf2. The hARE-mediated basal expression, however, is repressed by overexpression of c-Fos and Fra1.

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