The nuclear cofactor RAC3/AIB1/SRC-3 enhances Nrf2 signaling by interacting with transactivation domains

J. H. Kim, S. Yu, J. D. Chen, A. N. Kong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2, NM 006164, 605 AA) is essential for the antioxidant responsive element (ARE)-mediated expression of a group of detoxifying antioxidant genes that detoxify carcinogens and protect against oxidative stress. Several proteins have been identified as Nrf2-interacting molecules. In this study, we found that the overexpression of receptor-associated coactivator 3 (RAC3)/AIB-1/steroid receptor coactivator-3, a nuclear coregulator and oncogene frequently amplified in human breast cancers, induced heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) through Nrf2 transactivation in HeLa cells. Next, we determined the interaction between RAC3 and Nrf2 proteins using a co-immunoprecipitation assay and fluorescence resonance energy transfer analysis. The results showed that RAC3 bound directly to the Nrf2 protein in the nucleus. Subsequently, we identified the interacting domains of Nrf2 and RAC3 using a glutathione S-transferase pull-down assay. The results showed that both the N-terminal RAC3-pasB and C-terminal RAC3-R3B3 domains were tightly bound to the Neh4 and Neh5 transactivation domains. Furthermore, chromatin immunoprecipitation showed that RAC3 bound tightly to the ARE enhancer region of the HO-1 promoter via Nrf2 binding. These data suggest that Nrf2 activation is modulated and directly controlled through interactions with the RAC3 protein in HeLa cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)514-527
Number of pages14
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 24 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


  • HO-1
  • Nrf2
  • RAC3/SRC-3


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