Roles of NRF3 in the Hallmarks of Cancer: Proteasomal Inactivation of Tumor Suppressors.
ABSTRACT: The physiological roles of the NRF2-related transcription factor NRF3 (NFE2L3) have remained unknown for decades. The remarkable development of human cancer genome databases has led to strong suggestions that NRF3 has functional significance in cancer; specifically, high NRF3 mRNA levels are induced in many cancer types, such as colorectal cancer and pancreatic adenocarcinoma, and are associated with poor prognosis. On the basis of this information, the involvement of NRF3 in tumorigenesis and cancer malignancy has been recently proposed. NRF3 confers cancer cells with selective growth advantages by enhancing 20S proteasome assembly through induction of the chaperone gene proteasome maturation protein (POMP) and consequently promoting degradation of the tumor suppressors p53 and retinoblastoma (Rb) in a ubiquitin-independent manner. This new finding offers insight into the proteasomal but not the genetic inactivation mechanism of tumor suppressors. Moreover, NRF3 promotes cancer malignancy-related processes, including metastasis and angiogenesis. Finally, the molecular mechanisms underlying NRF3 activation have been elucidated, and this knowledge is expected to provide many insights that are useful for the development of anticancer drugs that attenuate NRF3 transcriptional activity. Collectively, the evidence indicates that NRF3 confers cells with six so-called "hallmarks of cancer", implying that it exhibits cancer driver gene-like function. This review describes recent research advances regarding the newly discovered addiction of cancer cells to NRF3 compared to NRF2.
Project description:Proteasomes are essential protease complexes that maintain cellular homeostasis, and aberrant proteasomal activity supports cancer development. The regulatory mechanisms and biological function of the ubiquitin-26S proteasome have been studied extensively, while those of the ubiquitin-independent 20S proteasome system remain obscure. Here, we show that the cap 'n' collar (CNC) family transcription factor NRF3 specifically enhances 20S proteasome assembly in cancer cells and that 20S proteasomes contribute to colorectal cancer development through ubiquitin-independent proteolysis of the tumor suppressor p53 and retinoblastoma (Rb) proteins. The NRF3 gene is highly expressed in many cancer tissues and cell lines and is important for cancer cell growth. In cancer cells, NRF3 upregulates the assembly of the 20S proteasome by directly inducing the gene expression of the 20S proteasome maturation protein POMP. Interestingly, NRF3 knockdown not only increases p53 and Rb protein levels but also increases p53 activities for tumor suppression, including cell cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis. Furthermore, protein stability and cell viability assays using two distinct proteasome inhibitor anticancer drugs, the 20S proteasome inhibitor bortezomib and the ubiquitin-activating enzyme E1 inhibitor TAK-243, show that the upregulation of the NRF3-POMP axis leads to ubiquitin-independent proteolysis of p53 and Rb and to impaired sensitivity to bortezomib but not TAK-243. More importantly, the NRF3-POMP axis supports tumorigenesis and metastasis, with higher NRF3/POMP expression levels correlating with poor prognoses in patients with colorectal or rectal adenocarcinoma. These results suggest that the NRF3-POMP-20S proteasome assembly axis is significant for cancer development via ubiquitin-independent proteolysis of tumor suppressor proteins.
Project description:Remarkable upregulation of the NRF2 (NFE2L2)-related transcription factor NRF3 (NFE2L3) in several cancer tissues and its correlation with poor prognosis strongly suggest the physiological function of NRF3 in tumors. Indeed, we had recently uncovered the function of NRF3, which promotes cancer cell proliferation by p53 degradation via the 20S proteasome. Nevertheless, the molecular mechanism underlying the induction of NRF3 gene expression in cancer cells is highly elusive. We herein describe that NRF3 upregulation is induced by the β-catenin/TCF4 complex in colon cancer cells. We first confirmed high NRF3 mRNA expression in human colon cancer specimens. The genome database indicated that the human NRF3 gene possesses a species-conserved WRE sequence (TCF/LEF consensus element), implying that the β-catenin/TCF complex activates NRF3 expression in colon cancer. Consistently, we observed that the β-catenin/TCF4 complex mediates NRF3 expression by binding directly to the WRE site. Furthermore, inducing NRF3 activates cell proliferation and the expression of the glucose transporter GLUT1. The existence of the β-catenin/TCF4-NRF3 axis was also validated in the intestine and organoids of Apc-deficient mice. Finally, the positive correlation between NRF3 and β-catenin target gene expression strongly supports our conclusion. Our findings clearly demonstrate that NRF3 induction in cancer cells is controlled by the Wnt/β-catenin pathway.
Project description:Accumulated evidence suggests a physiological relationship between the transcription factor NRF3 (NFE2L3) and cancers. Under physiological conditions, NRF3 is repressed by its endoplasmic reticulum (ER) sequestration. In response to unidentified signals, NRF3 enters the nucleus and modulates gene expression. However, molecular mechanisms underlying the nuclear translocation of NRF3 and its target gene in cancer cells remain poorly understood. We herein report that multiple regulation of NRF3 activities controls cell proliferation. Our analyses reveal that under physiological conditions, NRF3 is rapidly degraded by the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) ubiquitin ligase HRD1 and valosin-containing protein (VCP) in the cytoplasm. Furthermore, NRF3 is also degraded by ?-TRCP, an adaptor for the Skp1-Cul1-F-box protein (SCF) ubiquitin ligase in the nucleus. The nuclear translocation of NRF3 from the ER requires the aspartic protease DNA-damage inducible 1 homolog 2 (DDI2) but does not require inhibition of its HRD1-VCP-mediated degradation. Finally, NRF3 mediates gene expression of the cell cycle regulator U2AF homology motif kinase 1 (UHMK1) for cell proliferation. Collectively, our study provides us many insights into the molecular regulation and biological function of NRF3 in cancer cells.
Project description:Accumulated evidences suggest physiological relevance between the transcription factor NRF3 (NFE2L3) and cancers. However NRF3 target genes in cancer cells remain poorly understood. We used microarrays to identify to identify NRF3 taget genes which regulate cell proliferation. Overall design: For RNA extraction and hybridization on Affymetrix microarrays, we prepated the DLD-1 cells transfected NRF3 or control siRNA in duplicate.
Project description:The transcription factor nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is a key regulator of the cellular stress response, but the biological functions of the related Nrf3 protein are largely unknown. Here we demonstrate a novel pro-apoptotic function of Nrf3 in mouse and human keratinocytes. In response to UV irradiation, Nrf3-deficient keratinocytes were protected from apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. The protective function was also seen under oxidative or hyperosmotic stress conditions, but not when apoptosis was induced by disruption of cell-matrix interactions. Mechanistically, we show that Nrf3-deficient keratinocytes exhibit stronger cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesion, which correlates with higher cell surface integrin levels and enhanced activation of focal adhesion kinase. Nrf3-deficient cells also formed more and larger focal adhesions and exhibited a higher motility. These results suggest that the strong expression of Nrf3 in basal keratinocytes promotes their elimination in response to DNA damage-inducing agents, thereby preventing accumulation of mutated stem and transit amplifying cells in the epidermis.
Project description:The NRF transcription factors NRF1, NRF2, and NRF3, are a subset of Cap'n'collar transcriptional regulators which modulate the expression of genes harboring antioxidant-response element (ARE) sequences within their genomic loci. Despite the emerging physiological importance of NRF family members, the repertoire of their genetic targets remains incompletely defined. Here we use RNA-sequencing-based transcriptional profiling and quantitative proteomics to delineate the overlapping and differential genetic programs effected by the three NRF transcription factors. We then create consensus target gene sets regulated by NRF1, NRF2, and NRF3 and define the integrity of these gene sets for probing NRF activity in mammalian cell culture and human tissues. Together, our data provide a quantitative assessment of how NRF family members sculpt proteomes and transcriptomes, providing a framework to understand the critical physiological importance of NRF transcription factors and to establish pharmacologic approaches for therapeutically activating these transcriptional programs in disease.
Project description:Nuclear factor-erythroid 2-related factor 3 (NRF3), a nuclear transcription factor, has been implicated in various cellular processes including carcinogenesis. However, mechanisms underlying its regulation in carcinogenesis are unclear. Herein, we found that NRF3 is lowly expressed in colorectal cancer (CRC) tissues and cells, and NRF3 low-expressions in CRC tissue samples are associated with CRC carcinogenesis and poor patient outcomes. Nrf3-knockdown increased CRC cell growth, colony formation, and cell motility and invasion, and Nrf3-knockin dramatically decreased CRC cell growth and colony formation. Mechanistically, NRF3 increased CRC cell apoptosis and arrested cell G2/M stage. NRF3 was found to be reversely with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and p38. Strikingly, Nrf3-knockin dramatically decreased phosphorylated-EGFR at Tyrosine845 (pEGFR Tyr845) and phosphorylated-p38 at Threonine180/Tyrosine182 (p-p38 Thr180/Tyr182) expressions, and Nrf3-knockdown increased pEGFR Tyr845 and p-p38 Thr180/Tyr182. Moreover, NRF3 regulated EGFR and p38 down-stream molecules, protein kinase B (AKT), activating transcription factor (ATF) 2, and C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) expressions. NRF3 loss-increased CRC growth through EGFR and p38 was confirmed in nude mice. Collectively, NRF3-loss in CRC cell increases EGFR and p38 phosphorylation activation, enhances cell proliferation and decreases cell apoptosis, and finally promotes CRC malignance.
Project description:Nuclear factor, erythroid 2-like 2 (Nrf2) is a master transcription factor for cellular defense against endogenous and exogenous stresses by regulating expression of many antioxidant and detoxification genes. Here, we show that Nrf2 acts as a key pluripotency gene and a regulator of proteasome activity in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs). Nrf2 expression is highly enriched in hESCs and dramatically decreases upon differentiation. Nrf2 inhibition impairs both the self-renewal ability of hESCs and re-establishment of pluripotency during cellular reprogramming. Nrf2 activation can delay differentiation. During early hESC differentiation, Nrf2 closely colocalizes with OCT4 and NANOG. As an underlying mechanism, our data show that Nrf2 regulates proteasome activity in hESCs partially through proteasome maturation protein (POMP), a proteasome chaperone, which in turn controls the proliferation of self-renewing hESCs, three germ layer differentiation and cellular reprogramming. Even modest proteasome inhibition skews the balance of early differentiation toward mesendoderm at the expense of an ectodermal fate by decreasing the protein level of cyclin D1 and delaying the degradation of OCT4 and NANOG proteins. Taken together, our findings suggest a new potential link between environmental stress and stemness with Nrf2 and the proteasome coordinately positioned as key mediators.
Project description:Keratosis linearis with ichthyosis congenita and keratoderma (KLICK) is an autosomal recessive skin disorder associated with a single-nucleotide deletion in the 5'untranslated region of the proteasome maturation protein (POMP) gene. The deletion causes a relative switch in transcription start sites for POMP, predicted to decrease levels of POMP protein in terminally differentiated keratinocytes. To investigate the pathophysiology behind KLICK we created an in vitro model of the disease using siRNA silencing of POMP in epidermal air-liquid cultures. Immunohistochemical analysis of the tissue constructs revealed aberrant staining of POMP, proteasome subunits and the skin differentiation marker filaggrin when compared to control tissue constructs. The staining patterns of POMP siRNA tissue constructs showed strong resemblance to those observed in skin biopsies from KLICK patients. Western blot analysis of lysates from the organotypic tissue constructs revealed an aberrant processing of profilaggrin to filaggrin in samples transfected with siRNA against POMP. Knock-down of POMP expression in regular cell cultures resulted in decreased amounts of proteasome subunits. Prolonged silencing of POMP in cultured cells induced C/EBP homologous protein (CHOP) expression consistent with an activation of the unfolded protein response and increased endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress. The combined results indicate that KLICK is caused by reduced levels of POMP, leading to proteasome insufficiency in differentiating keratinocytes. Proteasome insufficiency disturbs terminal epidermal differentiation, presumably by increased ER stress, and leads to perturbed processing of profilaggrin. Our findings underline a critical role for the proteasome in human epidermal differentiation.
Project description:Keratosis linearis with ichthyosis congenita and sclerosing keratoderma (KLICK) syndrome is a rare autosomal recessive skin disorder characterized by palmoplantar keratoderma, linear hyperkeratotic plaques, ichthyosiform scaling, circular constrictions around the fingers, and numerous papules distributed linearly in the arm folds and on the wrists. Histologically, the affected skin shows hypertrophy and hyperplasia of the spinous, granular, and horny epidermal layers with mild infiltration of inflammatory cells in the upper dermis. There are 14 patients with KLICK syndrome described in the literature, and they all carry the same nucleotide deletion. Proteasome maturation protein (POMP), encoded by POMP, is an ubiquitously expressed protein that functions as a chaperone for proteasome maturation. KLICK syndrome is caused by a reduction in POMP levels that leads to proteasome insufficiency in differentiating keratinocytes. It is noteworthy that POMP is also known to be the causative gene for proteasome-associated autoinflammatory syndrome-2 (PRAAS2). It is considered that the disrupted proteasome assembly caused by the POMP mutation might lead to both skin inflammation and then hyperkeratosis in KLICK syndrome. Inflammation caused by the hyperactivation of innate immunity occasionally leads to inflammatory diseases of the skin, recently denoted as autoinflammatory keratinization diseases (AiKDs). We propose that KLICK syndrome caused by the specific 1-bp nucleotide deletion mutation in the regulatory region of POMP might be in a spectrum of proteasome-associated phenotypes.