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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase and glutathione regulate asbestos- induced expression of activator protein-1 family members and activity.

Asbestos fibers cause persistent increases in activator protein-1 (AP-1) family member proto-oncogenes in lung epithelial and mesothelial cells that are linked to proliferation and cell transformation. Using lung epithelial cells, the progenitor cells of lung cancers, we report that crocidolite asbestos initially depletes intracellular glutathione followed by up-regulation of both catalytic and modifier subunits of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase. In vivo asbestos inhalation experiments confirm increased protein levels of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase in mouse lungs. We also show that asbestos-induced mRNA levels of fos/jun proto-oncogenes, fra-1 transactivation, and AP-1 to DNA binding activity are glutathione-dependent. Epidermal growth factor receptor activity by asbestos is blocked by N-acetyl-l-cysteine, suggesting that it is an initial redox-activated event leading to downstream AP-1 proto-oncogene up-regulation. The overexpression of subunits of gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase in combination completely blocked asbestos- induced up-regulation of AP-1 proto-oncogene expression. However, when overexpressed individually, the modifier subunit had more dramatic effects than the catalytic subunit. Our work shows that the glutathione-controlled redox status of the epithelial cell plays a pivotal role in asbestos-induced epidermal growth factor receptor and proto-oncogene activation as well as AP-1 activity.[1]


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