Drosophila Keap1 xenobiotic response factor regulates developmental transcription through binding to chromatin

Jennifer Carlson, Lindsey Price, Isabel Cook, Huai Deng

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1 Scopus citations


The Keap1-Nrf2 complex is a central regulator that mediates transcriptional responses to xenobiotic stimuli and is highly related with multiple human diseases. The molecular mechanisms and biological functions of Keap1 and Nrf2 are not fully understood. The Drosophila Keap1 homolog (dKeap1) is conserved with mammalian Keap1 except that dKeap1 contains a 156 aa C-terminal tail (CTD). A dKeap1 truncation with the CTD removed (dKeap1-ΔCTD) shows abolished nuclear localization and chromatin-binding. Expression of dKeap1-ΔCTD in the dKeap1 null background significantly rescues this mutant to the adult stage, but the files showed partial lethality, sterility and defects in adipose tissue. In the rescued flies, expression levels of ecdysone-response genes, ecdysone-synthetic genes and adipogenesis genes were down-regulated in specific tissues, indicating that the chromatin-binding of dKeap1 mediates the activation of these developmental genes. At the same time, dKeap1-ΔCTD can still suppress the basal expression of detoxifying genes and mediate the activation of these genes in response to xenobiotic stimuli, suggesting that the chromatin-binding of dKeap1 is not required for the regulation of detoxifying genes. These results support a model in which dKeap1 on one hand functions as an inhibitor for the Nrf2-mediated transcription in the xenobiotic response pathway and on the other hand functions as a chromatin-binding transcription activator in the developmental pathway. Our study reveals a novel mechanism whereby Keap1-Nrf2 xenobiotic response signaling regulates development using a mechanism independent of redox signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)139-147
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopmental Biology
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021


  • Adipogenesis
  • Chromatin binding
  • Development
  • Ecdysone
  • Keap1-Nrf2
  • Oogenesis
  • Oxidative and xenobiotic responses
  • Transcription activator
  • dKeap1-CncC


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