Oxidative stress plays an important part in the pathogenesis of a variety of diseases. The ability to mount an efficient response against the continuous threat posed by exogenous and endogenous oxidants is essential for cellular homeostasis and survival. Oxidative stress activates transcription of a variety of antioxidant genes through cis-acting sequence known as antioxidant response element (ARE). Members of the Cap-N-Collar family of transcription factors, including Nrf1 and Nrf2, that bind ARE have been identified. Nrf1 and Nrf2 are expressed in a wide range of tissues and cell types, and both bind the ARE as heterodimers with small Maf proteins. Numerous studies indicate a pivotal role of Nrf2 in ARE function. Herein, we review data derived from cell-based studies and knockout mice in an attempt to define the role and regulation of Nrf1 in oxidative stress response and other functions.
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