miR-125b transcriptionally increased by Nrf2 inhibits AhR repressor, which protects kidney from cisplatin-induced injury

Cell Death Dis. 2013 Oct 31;4(10):e899. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2013.427.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) have a role in the cellular defense mechanism. Nuclear factor erythroid-2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) increases antioxidant enzyme capacity. However, miRNA transcriptionally controlled by Nrf2 had been uncharacterized. Here we report that miR-125b is transactivated by Nrf2 and inhibits aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) repressor (AhRR). Bioinformatic approaches enabled us to extract six candidate miRNAs. Of them, only miR-125b was increased in the kidney of mice treated with oltipraz. Nrf2 overexpression enhanced primary, precursor and mature miR-125b levels. Functional assays revealed MIR125B1 is a bona fide target gene of Nrf2. Oltipraz treatment protected the kidney from cisplatin toxicity with increase of miR-125b. Consistently, Nrf2 knockout abrogated an adaptive increase of miR-125b elicited by cisplatin, augmenting kidney injury. An integrative network of miRNA and messenger RNA changes enabled us to predict miR-125b as an inhibitor of AhRR for the control of AhR activity and cell survival. In our molecular study, miR-125b inhibited AhRR and thereby activated AhR, leading to the induction of mdm2. Consistently, p53 activation by cisplatin was diminished by either miR-125b or oltipraz treatment. The results of experiments using miR-125b mimic or small interfering RNA of AhRR verified the role of miR-125b in AhRR regulation for kidney protection. In conclusion, miR-125b is transcriptionally activated by Nrf2 and serves as an inhibitor of AhRR, which contributes to protecting kidney from acute injury.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • Cisplatin / adverse effects*
  • Computational Biology
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • MicroRNAs / genetics*
  • MicroRNAs / metabolism
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / genetics
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / genetics
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon / metabolism*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • MIRN125 microRNA, human
  • MicroRNAs
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NFE2L2 protein, human
  • Receptors, Aryl Hydrocarbon
  • Cisplatin