Beyond repression of Nrf2: An update on Keap1

Free Radic Biol Med. 2020 Sep;157:63-74. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2020.03.023. Epub 2020 Mar 28.


Nrf2 (NFE2L2 - nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2) is a transcription factor, which is repressed by interaction with a redox-sensitive protein Keap1 (Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1). Deregulation of Nrf2 transcriptional activity has been described in the pathogenesis of multiple diseases, and the Nrf2/Keap1 axis has emerged as a crucial modulator of cellular homeostasis. Whereas the significance of Nrf2 in the modulation of biological processes has been well established and broadly discussed in detail, the focus on Keap1 rarely goes beyond the regulation of Nrf2 activity and redox sensing. However, recent studies and scrutinized analysis of available data point to Keap1 as an intriguing and potent regulator of cellular function. This review aims to shed more light on Keap1 structure, interactome, regulation and non-canonical functions, thereby enhancing its significance in cell biology. We also intend to highlight the impact of balance between Keap1 and Nrf2 in the maintenance of cellular homeostasis.

Keywords: Interacting proteins; Keap1; Non-canonical functions; Nrf2.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Kelch-Like ECH-Associated Protein 1* / genetics
  • Kelch-Like ECH-Associated Protein 1* / metabolism
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2* / genetics
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2* / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction


  • Kelch-Like ECH-Associated Protein 1
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2