Nrf2 regulates cellular behaviors and Notch signaling in oral squamous cell carcinoma cells


Hong Fan, Chorlada Paiboonrungruan, Xinyan Zhang, Justin R Prigge, Edward E Schmidt, Zheng Sun, Xiaoxin Chen


Biochemical and biophysical research communications


Oxidative stress is known to play a pivotal role in the development of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC). We have demonstrated that activation of the nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) signaling pathway has chemopreventive effects against oxidative stress-associated OSCC. However, Nrf2 have dual roles in cancer development; while it prevents carcinogenesis of normal cells, hyperactive Nrf2 also promotes the survival of cancer cells. This study is aimed to understand the function of Nrf2 in regulating cellular behaviors of OSCC cells, and the potential mechanisms through which Nrf2 facilitates OSCC. We established the Nrf2-overexpressing and Nrf2-knockdown OSCC cell lines, and examined the function of Nrf2 in regulating cell proliferation, migration, invasion, cell cycle and colony formation. Our data showed that Nrf2 overexpression promoted cancer phenotypes in OSCC cells, whereas Nrf2 silencing inhibited these phenotypes. In addition, Nrf2 positively regulated Notch signaling pathway in OSCC cells in vitro. Consistent with this observation, Nrf2 activation in Keap1-/- mice resulted in not only hyperproliferation of squamous epithelial cells in mouse tongue as evidenced by increased expression of PCNA, but also activation of Notch signaling in these cells as evidenced by increased expression of NICD1 and Hes1. In conclusion, Nrf2 regulates cancer behaviors and Notch signaling in OSCC cells.



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