Tetrachlorobenzoquinone induces Nrf2 activation via rapid Bach1 nuclear export/ubiquitination and JNK-P62 signaling

Our previous studies demonstrated that tetrachlorobenzoquinone (TCBQ), an active metabolite of pentachlorophenol, has effects on the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and oxidative stress in vitro and in vivo. Nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2-like 2 (Nrf2) is a cellular sensor of electrophilic or oxidative stress that regulates the expression of antioxidant enzymes and defensive proteins. We have illustrated that TCBQ activates Nrf2 signaling by promoting the formation of the Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1) cross-linking dimer and the formation of an ubiquitination switch from Nrf2 to Keap1. The activation of Nrf2 by TCBQ may serve as an adaptive response to a TCBQ-induced oxidative insult. BTB and CNC homolog 1 (Bach1) compete with Nrf2, leading to the negative regulation of the antioxidant response element (ARE). In this report, we propose that TCBQ induces the dynamic inactivation of Bach1. We observed a rapid nuclear efflux of Bach1 and an accumulation of Nrf2 in nuclei upon TCBQ treatment that precedes the binding of Nrf2 with ARE. We found that the nuclear export of Bach1 is dependent on its chromosomal region maintenance 1 (Crm1) interaction and tyrosine phosphorylation. Although TCBQ induces the ubiquitination of Bach1, TCBQ also increases the mRNA and protein levels of Bach1, returning Bach1 to normal levels. Moreover, we found that TCBQ-induced activation of Nrf2 involves c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)-P62 signaling.

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