Nrf2-dependent sulfiredoxin-1 expression protects against cigarette smoke-induced oxidative stress in lungs

Anju Singh, Guoyu Ling, Avvaru N. Suhasini, Ping Zhang, Masayuki Yamamoto, Ana Navas-Acien, Gregory Cosgrove, Rubin M. Tuder, Thomas W. Kensler, Walter H. Watson, Shyam Biswal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Scopus citations


Oxidative stress results in protein oxidation and is involved in the pathogenesis of lung diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). Sulfiredoxin-1 (Srx1) catalyzes the reduction of cysteine sulfinic acid to sulfenic acid in oxidized proteins and protects them from inactivation. This study examined the mechanism of transcriptional regulation of Srx1 and its possible protective role during oxidative stress associated with COPD. Nrf2, a transcription factor known to influence susceptibility to pulmonary diseases, upregulates Srx1 expression during oxidative stress caused by cigarette smoke exposure in the lungs of mice. Disruption of Nrf2 signaling by genetic knockout in mice or RNAi in cells downregulated the expression of Srx1. In silico analysis of the 5′-promoter-flanking region of Srx1 identified multiple antioxidant-response elements (AREs) that are highly conserved. Reporter and chromatin-immunoprecipitation assays demonstrated that ARE1 at -228 is critical for the Nrf2-mediated response. Attenuation of Srx1 expression with RNAi potentiated the toxicity of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), whereas overexpression of Srx1 protected against H2O2-mediated cell death in vitro. Immunoblot analysis revealed dramatic decreases in Srx1 expression in lungs from patients with COPD relative to nonemphysematous lungs together with a decline in Nrf2 protein. Thus, Srx1, a key Nrf2-regulated gene, contributes to protection against oxidative injury in the lung.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)376-386
Number of pages11
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2009


  • Antioxidant response element
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Emphysema
  • Free radicals
  • Nrf2
  • Oxidative stress
  • Srx1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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