Energetic nutrients are oxidized to sustain high intracellular NADPH/NADP+ ratios. NADPH-dependent reduction of thioredoxin-1 (Trx1) disulfide and glutathione disulfide by thioredoxin reductase-1 (TrxR1) and glutathione reductase (Gsr), respectively, fuels antioxidant systems and deoxyribonucleotide synthesis. Mouse livers lacking both TrxR1 and Gsr sustain these essential activities using an NADPH-independent methionine-consuming pathway; however, it remains unclear how this reducing power is distributed. Here, we show that liver-specific co-disruption of the genes encoding Trx1, TrxR1, and Gsr (triple-null) causes dramatic hepatocyte hyperproliferation. Thus, even in the absence of Trx1, methionine-fueled glutathione production supports hepatocyte S phase deoxyribonucleotide production. Also, Trx1 in the absence of TrxR1 provides a survival advantage to cells under hyperglycemic stress, suggesting that glutathione, likely via glutaredoxins, can reduce Trx1 disulfide in vivo. In triple-null livers like in many cancers, deoxyribonucleotide synthesis places a critical yet relatively low-volume demand on these reductase systems, thereby favoring high hepatocyte turnover over sustained hepatocyte integrity.
Keywords: cancer; glutathione; liver; methionine cycle; mouse model; proliferation; redox; ribonucleotide reductase; thioredoxin; transsulfuration.
Copyright © 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.