Nrf2 promotes esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) resistance to radiotherapy through the CaMKIIα-associated activation of autophagy

Published on 2020-07-31T04:23:48Z (GMT) by
Abstract Background NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) is involved in the radiation resistance of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), but the underlying molecular mechanism is unclear. The purpose of our study was to explore the role of Nrf2 in the radiation resistance of ESCC and the potential molecular mechanism. Results Nrf2 expression was introduced into Ec109 and KYSE-30 ESCC cells with lentivirus. CCK-8 and colony formation assays were used to evaluate the effect of Nrf2 on radioresistance in culture. The autophagy level was assessed by western blotting, flow cytometry, and confocal fluorescence microscopy. The effect of Nrf2 on the transcription of Ca2 +/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II α (CaMKIIα) was studied by chromatin immunoprecipitation. We found that the overexpression of Nrf2 increased the radiation resistance of ESCC cells. Mechanistically, Nrf2 triggered the radiation resistance of ESCC cells by targeting CaMKIIα and subsequently activating autophagy. In addition, we found that Nrf2 directly regulated the transcription of CaMKIIα by binding to its promoter region. The effect of Nrf2 on radiation resistance was also explored in both a xenograft mouse model and ESCC patient samples. Consistent with the results of the in vitro study, high Nrf2 expression level resulted in in vivo radioresistance in an Ec109-derived xenograft mouse model. Furthermore, we also demonstrated that upregulations of both Nrf2 and CaMKIIα was closely related to lower survival rates of ESCC patients. Conclusions Our study reveals that Nrf2 promotes the radiation resistance of ESCC by targeting CaMKIIα and subsequently activating autophagy, which is characterized by the suppression of phosphorylated mTOR and p62, activation of Beclin 1, and transformation of LC3-I to LC3-II.

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Xia, Di; Zhang, Xiao-Ran; Ma, Yan-Li; Zhao, Zhi-Jun; Zhao, Ren; Wang, Yan-Yang (2020): Nrf2 promotes esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) resistance to radiotherapy through the CaMKIIα-associated activation of autophagy. figshare. Collection. https://doi.org/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.5078661.v1