Main content area

Activation of the antioxidant response in methionine deprived human cells results in an HSF1-independent increase in HSPA1A mRNA levels

Hensen, Sanne M.M., Heldens, Lonneke, van Enckevort, Chrissy M.W., van Genesen, Siebe T., Pruijn, Ger J.M., Lubsen, Nicolette H.
Biochimie 2013 v.95 pp. 1245-1251
acetylcysteine, antioxidants, gene expression, genes, glutamine, heat shock proteins, humans, leucine, lysine, messenger RNA, methionine, mutants, oxidative stress, transcription factors
In cells starved for leucine, lysine or glutamine heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) is inactivated and the level of the transcripts of the HSF1 target genes HSPA1A (Hsp70) and DNAJB1 (Hsp40) drops. We show here that in HEK293 cells deprived of methionine HSF1 was similarly inactivated but that the level of HSPA1A and DNAJB1 mRNA increased. This increase was also seen in cells expressing a dominant negative HSF1 mutant (HSF379 or HSF1-K80Q), confirming that the increase is HSF1 independent. The antioxidant N-acetylcysteine completely inhibited the increase in HSPA1A and DNAJB1 mRNA levels upon methionine starvation, indicating that this increase is a response to oxidative stress resulting from a lack of methionine. Cells starved for methionine contained higher levels of c-Fos and FosB mRNA, but knockdown of these transcription factors had no effect on the HSPA1A or DNAJB1 mRNA level. Knockdown of NRF2 mRNA resulted in the inhibition of the increase in the HSPA1A mRNA, but not the DNAJB1 mRNA, level in methionine starved cells. We conclude that methionine deprivation results in both the amino acid deprivation response and an antioxidant response mediated at least in part by NRF2. This antioxidant response includes an HSF1 independent increase in the levels of HSPA1A and DNAJB1 mRNA.