Publication date: Available online 12 October 2017
Author(s): Wenjie Ge, Kunming Zhao, Xingwen Wang, Huayi Li, Miao Yu, Mengmeng He, Xuting Xue, Yifu Zhu, Cheng Zhang, Yiwei Cheng, Shijian Jiang, Ying Hu
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) have emerged as important signaling molecules that play crucial roles in carcinogenesis and cytotoxic responses. Nrf2 is the master regulator of ROS balance. Thus, uncovering mechanisms of Nrf2 regulation is important for the development of alternative treatment strategies for cancers. Here, we demonstrate that iASPP, a known p53 inhibitor, lowers ROS independently of p53. Mechanistically, iASPP competes with Nrf2 for Keap1 binding via a DLT motif, leading to decreased Nrf2 ubiquitination and increased Nrf2 accumulation, nuclear translocation, and antioxidative transactivation. This iASPP-Keap1-Nrf2 axis promotes cancer growth and drug resistance both in vitro and in vivo. Thus, iASPP is an antioxidative factor and represents a promising target to improve cancer treatment, regardless of p53 status.
Ge et al. show that iASPP, a known p53 inhibitor, functions independently of p53 to compete with Keap1 for Nrf2 binding, leading to decreased Nrf2 ubiquitination and increased Nrf2 accumulation and antioxidative transactivation. The iASPP-Keap1-Nrf2 axis promotes cancer growth and drug resistance.