Pharmaceutical Research

, Volume 20, Issue 9, pp 1351–1356

Involvement of Nrf2 and JNK1 in the Activation of Antioxidant Responsive Element (ARE) by Chemopreventive Agent Phenethyl Isothiocyanate (PEITC)

  • Young-Sam Keum
  • Edward D. Owuor
  • Bok-Ryang Kim
  • Rong Hu
  • A.-N. Tony Kong
Article

DOI: 10.1023/A:1025737622815

Cite this article as:
Keum, Y., Owuor, E.D., Kim, B. et al. Pharm Res (2003) 20: 1351. doi:10.1023/A:1025737622815

Abstract

Purpose. Phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) has been of great interest as a promising cancer chemopreventive agent. To better understand its chemopreventive activity, we examined the effect of PEITC on the antioxidant responsive element (ARE), which is an important gene regulatory element of many phase II drug-metabolizing/detoxification enzymes as well as cellular defensive enzymes.

Methods. HeLa cells were transiently transfected with different cDNA plasmids using calcium phosphate precipitation. Subsequently, the cells were maintained in fresh media, and various concentrations of PEITC were added to the transfected cells. After harvesting and lysing of the cells, ARE-luciferase reporter gene activity was measured and normalized against β-galactosidase activity.

Results. Treatments of HeLa cells with PEITC transiently stimulated ARE-reporter gene expressions in a dose-dependent manner. Overexpression of wild-type NF-E2 related factor-2 (Nrf2) dramatically increased ARE-reporter gene expression in a dose-dependent manner. Similar effects were seen when wild-type c-Jun N-terminal kinase 1 (JNK1) was transfected, although the transactivating potential of JNK1 was much less than that of Nrf2. Cotransfection of Nrf2 and JNK1 showed additional enhancement of ARE reporter gene expression, implying that JNK1 might be an upstream activator of Nrf2. To support this, overexpression of dominant-negative JNK1 suppressed Nrf2-induced ARE reporter gene expression in a dose-dependent manner. When PEITC was added, slight enhancement of ARE reporter gene expression was observed in either Nrf2- or JNK1-transfected cells. Finally, ARE reporter activity induced by PEITC was substantially attenuated by transfection of either dominant-negative mutant of Nrf2 or dominant-negative mutant of JNK1.

Conclusion. Taken together, these data suggest that JNK1 acts as an upstream activator of Nrf2 and that PEITC activates ARE-mediated phase II drug metabolism gene expressions via the JNK1- and Nrf2-dependent pathways.

chemopreventionisothiocyanate (ITC)phenethyl isothiocyanates (PEITC)antioxidant response element (ARE)Nrf2JNK1signal transduction

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Young-Sam Keum
    • 1
  • Edward D. Owuor
    • 1
  • Bok-Ryang Kim
    • 1
  • Rong Hu
    • 1
  • A.-N. Tony Kong
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutics, Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy, RutgersThe State University of New JerseyPiscataway