bims-nurfca Biomed News
on NRF2 and Cancer
Issue of 2024‒05‒26
twelve papers selected by
Caner Geyik, Istinye University

  1. Arch Biochem Biophys. 2024 May 22. pii: S0003-9861(24)00164-4. [Epub ahead of print] 110043
      The oncogene and phase 2 detoxification enzyme glutathione S-transferase P (GSTP) is a GSH-dependent chaperone of signal transduction and transcriptional proteins with key role in liver carcinogenesis. In this study, we explored this role of GSTP in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) investigating the possible interaction of this protein with one of its transcription factor and metronome of cancer cell redox, namely the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2). Expression, cellular distribution, and function as glutathionylation factor of GSTP1-1 isoform were investigated in the mouse model of N-nitrosodiethylamine (DEN)-induced HCC and in vitro in human HCC cell lines. The GSTP-Nrf2/Keap1 physical and functional interaction was investigated by immunoprecipitation and gene manipulation experiments. GSTP protein increased its liver expression, enzymatic activity and nuclear levels during DEN-induced tumor development in mice; protein glutathionylation (PSSG) was increased in the tumor masses. Higher levels and a preferential nuclear localization of GSTP protein were also observed in HepG2 and Huh-7 hepatocarcinoma cells compared to HepaRG non-cancerous cells, along with increased basal and Ebselen-stimulated levels of free GSH and PSSG. GSTP activity inhibition with the GSH analogue EZT induced apoptotic cell death in HCC cells. Hepatic Nrf2 and c-Jun, two transcription factors involved in GSTP expression and GSH biosynthesis, were induced in DEN-HCC compared to control animals; the Nrf2 inhibitory proteins Keap1 and β-TrCP also increased and GSTP co-immunoprecipitated with both Nrf2 and Keap1. Nrf2 nuclear translocation and β-TrCP expression also increased in HCC cells, whereas the GSTP transfection in HepaRG cells induced Nrf2 transcriptional activation. In conclusion, GSTP expression and subcellular distribution can contribute to the GSH-dependent redox reprogramming of HCC cells directly influencing the Nrf2/Keap1 system.
    Keywords:  DEN; GSTP; HCC; N-nitrosodiethylamine; Nrf2; glutathione; hepatocellular carcinoma; liver cancer
  2. Cancers (Basel). 2024 May 15. pii: 1885. [Epub ahead of print]16(10):
      The KEAP1/NRF2 pathway is a master regulator of several redox-sensitive genes implicated in the resistance of tumor cells against therapeutic drugs. The dysfunction of the KEAP1/NRF2 system has been correlated with neoplastic patients' outcomes and responses to conventional therapies. In lung tumors, the growth and the progression of cancer cells may also involve the intersection between the molecular NRF2/KEAP1 axis and other pathways, including NOTCH, with implications for antioxidant protection, survival of cancer cells, and drug resistance to therapies. At present, the data concerning the mechanism of aberrant NRF2/NOTCH crosstalk as well as its genetic and epigenetic basis in SCLC are incomplete. To better clarify this point and elucidate the contribution of NRF2/NOTCH crosstalk deregulation in tumorigenesis of SCLC, we investigated genetic and epigenetic dysfunctions of the KEAP1 gene in a subset of SCLC cell lines. Moreover, we assessed its impact on SCLC cells' response to conventional chemotherapies (etoposide, cisplatin, and their combination) and NOTCH inhibitor treatments using DAPT, a γ-secretase inhibitor (GSI). We demonstrated that the KEAP1/NRF2 axis is epigenetically controlled in SCLC cell lines and that silencing of KEAP1 by siRNA induced the upregulation of NRF2 with a consequent increase in SCLC cells' chemoresistance under cisplatin and etoposide treatment. Moreover, KEAP1 modulation also interfered with NOTCH1, HES1, and DLL3 transcription. Our preliminary data provide new insights about the downstream effects of KEAP1 dysfunction on NRF2 and NOTCH deregulation in this type of tumor and corroborate the hypothesis of a cooperation of these two pathways in the tumorigenesis of SCLC.
    Keywords:  DLL-3; HES1; KEAP1; NOTCH; NRF2; SCLC
  3. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2024 May 28. 121(22): e2219470121
      NRF2 (nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2) is a key regulator of genes involved in the cell's protective response to oxidative stress. Upon activation by disturbed redox homeostasis, NRF2 promotes the expression of metabolic enzymes to eliminate reactive oxygen species (ROS). Cell internalization of peroxisome-like artificial organelles that harbor redox-regulating enzymes was previously shown to reduce ROS-induced stress and thus cell death. However, if and to which extent ROS degradation by such nanocompartments interferes with redox signaling pathways is largely unknown. Here, we advance the design of H2O2-degrading artificial nano-organelles (AnOs) that exposed surface-attached cell penetrating peptides (CPP) for enhanced uptake and were equipped with a fluorescent moiety for rapid visualization within cells. To investigate how such AnOs integrate in cellular redox signaling, we engineered leukemic K562 cells that report on NRF2 activation by increased mCherry expression. Once internalized, ROS-metabolizing AnOs dampen intracellular NRF2 signaling upon oxidative injury by degrading H2O2. Moreover, intracellular AnOs conferred protection against ROSinduced cell death in conditions when endogenous ROS-protection mechanisms have been compromised by depletion of glutathione or knockdown of NRF2. We demonstrate CPP-facilitated AnO uptake and AnO-mediated protection against ROS insults also in the T lymphocyte population of primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells from healthy donors. Overall, our data suggest that intracellular AnOs alleviated cellular stress by the on-site reduction of ROS.
    Keywords:  NRF2 signaling; ROS scavenging; antioxidant defense; polymersomes; reactive oxygen species
  4. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2024 May 21. pii: a041546. [Epub ahead of print]
      Redox reactions control fundamental biochemical processes, including energy production, metabolism, respiration, detoxification, and signal transduction. Cancer cells, due to their generally active metabolism for sustained proliferation, produce high levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) compared to normal cells and are equipped with antioxidant defense systems to counteract the detrimental effects of ROS to maintain redox homeostasis. The KEAP1-NRF2 system plays a major role in sensing and regulating endogenous antioxidant defenses in both normal and cancer cells, creating a bivalent contribution of NRF2 to cancer prevention and therapy. Cancer cells hijack the NRF2-dependent antioxidant program and exploit a very unique metabolism as a trade-off for enhanced antioxidant capacity. This work provides an overview of redox metabolism in cancer cells, highlighting the role of the KEAP1-NRF2 system, selenoproteins, sulfur metabolism, heme/iron metabolism, and antioxidants. Finally, we describe therapeutic approaches that can be leveraged to target redox metabolism in cancer.
  5. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2024 May 21.
      AIMS: Cisplatin (CDDP) is a commonly used chemotherapeutic agent for treating head and neck tumors. However, there is high incidence of ototoxicity in patients treated with CDDP, which may be caused by the excessive reactive oxygen species generation (ROS) in the inner ear. Many studies have demonstrated the strong antioxidant effects of ergothioneine (EGT). Therefore, we assumed that EGT could also attenuate CIHL as well. However, the protective effect and mechanism of EGT on CIHL have not been elucidated as so far. In this study, we investigated whether EGT could treat CIHL and the mechanism.RESULTS: In our study, we confirmed the protective effect of EGT on preventing cisplatin induced toxicity both in vitro and in vivo. The auditory brainstem response (ABR) threshold shift in the EGT + CDDP treatment mice was 30 dB less than that in the CDDP treatment mice. EGT suppressed production of ROS and pro-apoptotic proteins both in tissue and cells. By silencing Nrf2, we confirmed that EGT protected against CIHL via the Nrf2 pathway. We also found that SLC22A4 (OCTN1), an important molecule involved in transporting EGT, was expressed in the cochlea.
    INNOVATION: Our results revealed the role of EGT in the prevention of CIHL by activating Nrf2/HO-1/NQO-1 pathway, and broadened a new perspective therapeutic target of EGT.
    CONCLUSION: EGT decreased ROS production and promoted the expression of antioxidative enzymes to maintain redox homeostasis in sensory hair cells (HCs). Overall, our results indicated that EGT may serve as a novel treatment drug to attenuate CIHL.
  6. FASEB J. 2024 May 31. 38(10): e23677
      Although the use of Doxorubicin (Dox) is extensive in the treatment of malignant tumor, the toxic effects of Dox on the heart can cause myocardial injury. Therefore, it is necessary to find an alternative drug to alleviate the Dox-induced cardiotoxicity. Dihydroartemisinin (DHA) is a semisynthetic derivative of artemisinin, which is an active ingredient of Artemisia annua. The study investigates the effects of DHA on doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity and ferroptosis, which are related to the activation of Nrf2 and the regulation of autophagy. Different concentrations of DHA were administered by gavage for 4 weeks in mice. H9c2 cells were pretreated with different concentrations of DHA for 24 h in vitro. The mechanism of DHA treatment was explored through echocardiography, biochemical analysis, real-time quantitative PCR, western blotting analysis, ROS/DHE staining, immunohistochemistry, and immunofluorescence. In vivo, DHA markedly relieved Dox-induced cardiac dysfunction, attenuated oxidative stress, alleviated cardiomyocyte ferroptosis, activated Nrf2, promoted autophagy, and improved the function of lysosomes. In vitro, DHA attenuated oxidative stress and cardiomyocyte ferroptosis, activated Nrf2, promoted clearance of autophagosomes, and reduced lysosomal destruction. The changes of ferroptosis and Nrf2 depend on selective degradation of keap1 and recovery of lysosome. We found for the first time that DHA could protect the heart from the toxic effects of Dox-induced cardiotoxicity. In addition, DHA significantly alleviates Dox-induced ferroptosis through the clearance of autophagosomes, including the selective degradation of keap1 and the recovery of lysosomes.
    Keywords:  Nrf2; autophagy; dihydroartemisinin; doxorubicin; ferroptosis
  7. Cell Death Discov. 2024 May 23. 10(1): 248
      Lithocholic acid (LCA) is a secondary bile acid. LCA enters the circulation after bacterial synthesis in the gastrointestinal tract, reaches distantly located cancer cells, and influences their behavior. LCA was considered carcinogenic, but recent studies demonstrated that LCA has antitumor effects. We assessed the possible role of LCA in pancreatic adenocarcinoma. At the serum reference concentration, LCA induced a multi-pronged antineoplastic program in pancreatic adenocarcinoma cells. LCA inhibited cancer cell proliferation and induced mesenchymal-to-epithelial (MET) transition that reduced cell invasion capacity. LCA induced oxidative/nitrosative stress by decreasing the expression of nuclear factor, erythroid 2-like 2 (NRF2) and inducing inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). The oxidative/nitrosative stress increased protein nitration and lipid peroxidation. Suppression of oxidative stress by glutathione (GSH) or pegylated catalase (pegCAT) blunted LCA-induced MET. Antioxidant genes were overexpressed in pancreatic adenocarcinoma and decreased antioxidant levels correlated with better survival of pancreatic adenocarcinoma patients. Furthermore, LCA treatment decreased the proportions of cancer stem cells. Finally, LCA induced total and ATP-linked mitochondrial oxidation and fatty acid oxidation. LCA exerted effects through the farnesoid X receptor (FXR), vitamin D receptor (VDR), and constitutive androstane receptor (CAR). LCA did not interfere with cytostatic agents used in the chemotherapy of pancreatic adenocarcinoma. Taken together, LCA is a non-toxic compound and has antineoplastic effects in pancreatic adenocarcinoma.
  8. Cell Death Differ. 2024 May 18.
      Stress-adaptive mechanisms enabling cancer cells to survive under glucose deprivation remain elusive. N6-methyladenosine (m6A) modification plays important roles in determining cancer cell fate and cellular stress response to nutrient deficiency. However, whether m6A modification functions in the regulation of cancer cell survival under glucose deprivation is unknown. Here, we found that glucose deprivation reduced m6A modification levels. Increasing m6A modification resulted in increased hepatoma cell necrosis under glucose deprivation, whereas decreasing m6A modification had an opposite effect. Integrated m6A-seq and RNA-seq revealed potential targets of m6A modification under glucose deprivation, including the transcription factor FOSL1; further, glucose deprivation upregulated FOSL1 by inhibiting FOSL1 mRNA decay in an m6A-YTHDF2-dependent manner through reducing m6A modification in its exon1 and 5'-UTR regions. Functionally, FOSL1 protected hepatoma cells against glucose deprivation-induced necrosis in vitro and in vivo. Mechanistically, FOSL1 transcriptionally repressed ATF3 by binding to its promoter. Meanwhile, ATF3 and MAFF interacted via their leucine zipper domains to form a heterodimer, which competed with NRF2 for binding to antioxidant response elements in the promoters of NRF2 target genes, thereby inhibiting their transcription. Consequently, FOSL1 reduced the formation of the ATF3-MAFF heterodimer, thereby enhancing NRF2 transcriptional activity and the antioxidant capacity of glucose-deprived-hepatoma cells. Thus, FOSL1 alleviated the necrosis-inducing effect of glucose deprivation-induced reactive oxygen species accumulation. Collectively, our study uncovers the protective role of m6A-FOSL1-ATF3 axis in hepatoma cell necrosis under glucose deprivation, and may provide new targets for cancer therapy.
  9. Nat Prod Bioprospect. 2024 May 23. 14(1): 34
      Cancer cells generally exhibit 'iron addiction' phenotypes, which contribute to their vulnerability to ferroptosis inducers. Ferroptosis is a newly discovered form of programmed cell death caused by iron-dependent lipid peroxidation. In the present study, pacidusin B, a dichapetalin-type triterpenoid from Phyllanthus acidus (L.) Skeels (Euphorbiaceae), induces ferroptosis in the HT1080 human fibrosarcoma cell line. Cells treated with pacidusin B exhibited the morphological characteristic 'ballooning' phenotype of ferroptosis. The biochemical hallmarks of ferroptosis were also observed in pacidusin B-treated cells. Both oxidative stress and ER stress play significant roles in pacidusin B-induced ferroptosis. The activation of the PERK-Nrf2-HO-1 signaling pathway led to iron overload, while inhibition of GPX4 further sensitized cancer cells to ferroptosis. Furthermore, the molecular docking study showed that pacidusin B docked in the same pocket in xCT as the ferroptosis inducer erastin. These results revealed that pacidusin B exerts anticancer effects via inducing ER-mediated ferroptotic cell death.
    Keywords:  ER stress; Ferroptosis; PERK-Nrf2-HO-1 pathway; Pacidusin B; xCT
  10. Antioxidants (Basel). 2024 Apr 30. pii: 552. [Epub ahead of print]13(5):
      Cancer cells exhibit high levels of oxidative stress and consequently require a high amount of cysteine for glutathione synthesis. Solute Carrier Family 7 Member 11 (SLC7A11), or xCT, mediates the cellular uptake of cystine in exchange for intracellular glutamate; imported extracellular cystine is reduced to cysteine in the cytosol through a NADPH-consuming reduction reaction. SLC7A11/xCT expression is under the control of stress-inducing conditions and of several transcription factors, such as NRF2 and ATF4. Formyl-peptide receptor 2 (FPR2) belongs to the FPR family, which transduces chemotactic signals mediating either inflammatory or anti-inflammatory responses according to the nature of its ligands and/or FPR2 binding with other FPR isoforms. The repertoire of FPR2 agonists with anti-inflammatory activities comprises WKYMVm peptide and Annexin A1 (ANXA1), and the downstream effects of the intracellular signaling cascades triggered by FPR2 include NADPH oxidase (NOX)-dependent generation of reactive oxygen species. Herein, we demonstrate that stimulation of CaLu-6 cells with either WKYMVm or ANXA1: (i) induces the redox-regulated activation of SLC7A11/xCT; (ii) promotes the synthesis of glutathione; (iii) prevents lipid peroxidation; and (iv) favors NRF2 nuclear translocation and activation. In conclusion, our overall results demonstrate that FPR2 agonists and NOX modulate SLC7A11/xCT expression and activity, thereby identifying a novel regulative pathway of the cystine/glutamate antiport that represents a new potential therapeutical target for the treatment of human cancers.
    Keywords:  NADPH oxidase; NRF2; SLC7A11/xCT; formyl-peptide receptor 2; glutathione; lipid peroxidation
  11. Toxicol Res (Camb). 2024 Jun;13(3): tfae075
      BACKGROUND: Cisplatin is a potent anticancer agent widely employed in chemotherapy. However, cisplatin leads to toxicity on non-targeted healthy organs, including the liver. We investigated the hepatoprotective mechanism of arbutin (ARB), a glycosylated hydroquinone, against cisplatin-induced hepatotoxicity.METHODS: Rats were orally administered with ARB (ARB1 = 50 mg/kg; ARB2 = 100 mg/kg) for 14 consecutive days against hepatotoxicity induced by a single dose of cisplatin (10 mg/kg) on day 15. Three days after the intraperitoneal cisplatin injection, serum and liver tissue were collected for subsequent analyses.
    RESULTS: Cisplatin triggered marked increases in serum AST, ALT, and ALP activities, hepatic malondialdehyde (MDA) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) coupled with a considerable diminution in hepatic activities of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT) and the concentration of reduced glutathione (GSH). The gene expressions of interleukin-1β (IL-1β), tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α), and IL-6 were notably increased. The pre-administration of ARB1 and ARB2 reduced AST, ALT and ALP in serum and restored SOD, CAT, GSH, ROS, MDA and cytokine levels which was also evidenced by alleviated hepatic lesions. Further, cisplatin-induced prominent alterations in the gene expressions of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), iNOS, NF-κB, Bax, Bcl-2, caspase-3 and 8-OHdG in the liver. Interestingly, ARB protected the liver and mitigated the cisplatin-induced alterations in serum AST, ALT, ALP, and reduced hepatic redox markers, 8-OdG, inflammatory markers and gene expressions.
    CONCLUSION: The findings demonstrate that ARB is a potential protective adjuvant against cisplatin-induced hepatotoxicity via inhibition of hepatic oxidative stress, inflammation, and apoptosis.
    Keywords:  apoptosis; arbutin; cisplatin; hepatotoxicity; inflammation; oxidative stress
  12. J Korean Med Sci. 2024 May 20. 39(19): e156
      The process of cancer metastasis is dependent on the cancer cells' capacity to detach from the primary tumor, endure in a suspended state, and establish colonies in other locations. Anchorage dependence, which refers to the cells' reliance on attachment to the extracellular matrix (ECM), is a critical determinant of cellular shape, dynamics, behavior, and, ultimately, cell fate in nonmalignant and cancer cells. Anchorage-independent growth is a characteristic feature of cells resistant to anoikis, a programmed cell death process triggered by detachment from the ECM. This ability to grow and survive without attachment to a substrate is a crucial stage in the progression of metastasis. The recently discovered phenomenon named "adherent-to-suspension transition (AST)" alters the requirement for anchoring and enhances survival in a suspended state. AST is controlled by four transcription factors (IKAROS family zinc finger 1, nuclear factor erythroid 2, BTG anti-proliferation factor 2, and interferon regulatory factor 8) and can detach cells without undergoing the typical epithelial-mesenchymal transition. Notably, AST factors are highly expressed in circulating tumor cells compared to their attached counterparts, indicating their crucial role in the spread of cancer. Crucially, the suppression of AST substantially reduces metastasis while sparing primary tumors. These findings open up possibilities for developing targeted therapies that inhibit metastasis and emphasize the importance of AST, leading to a fundamental change in our comprehension of how cancer spreads.
    Keywords:  Adherent-to-Suspension Transition; Anchorage Independence; Circulating Tumor Cell; Metastatic Cascade