Genetic dissection of the Nrf2-dependent redox signaling-regulated transcriptional programs of cell proliferation and cytoprotection

Physiol Genomics. 2007 Dec 19;32(1):74-81. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00126.2007. Epub 2007 Sep 25.


The beta zipper (bZip) transcription factor, nuclear factor erythroid 2, like 2 (Nrf2), acting via an antioxidant/electrophile response element, regulates the expression of several antioxidant enzymes and maintains cellular redox homeostasis. Nrf2 deficiency diminishes pulmonary expression of several antioxidant enzymes, rendering them highly susceptible to various mouse models of prooxidant-induced lung injury. We recently demonstrated that Nrf2 deficiency impairs primary cultured pulmonary epithelial cell proliferation and greatly enhances sensitivity to prooxidant-induced cell death. Glutathione (GSH) supplementation rescued cells from these defects associated with Nrf2 deficiency. To further delineate the mechanisms by which Nrf2, via redox signaling, regulates cellular protection and proliferation, we compared the global expression profiling of Nrf2-deficient cells with and without GSH supplementation. We found that GSH regulates the expression of various networks of transcriptional programs including 1) several antioxidant enzymes involved in cellular detoxification of reactive oxygen species and recycling of thiol status and 2) several growth factors, growth factor receptors, and integrins that are critical for cell growth and proliferation. We also found that Nrf2 deficiency enhances the expression levels of several genes encoding proinflammatory cytokines; however, GSH supplementation markedly suppressed their expression. Collectively, these findings uncover an important insight into the nature of genes regulated by Nrf2-dependent redox signaling through GSH that are involved in cellular detoxification and proliferation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Division
  • Cell Survival
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Glutathione / pharmacology
  • Glutathione / physiology
  • Lung / cytology*
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / deficiency*
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / genetics*
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / physiology
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA / genetics
  • RNA / isolation & purification
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • Nfe2l2 protein, mouse
  • RNA
  • Glutathione