Transcription factor Nrf1 Is topologically repartitioned across membranes to enable target gene transactivation through Its acidic glucose-responsive domains

Yiguo Zhang (Lead / Corresponding author), Yonggang Ren, Shaojun Li, John D. Hayes

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    24 Citations (Scopus)
    69 Downloads (Pure)


    The membrane-bound Nrf1 transcription factor regulates critical homeostatic and developmental genes. The conserved N-terminal homology box 1 (NHB1) sequence in Nrf1 targets the cap'n'collar (CNC) basic basic-region leucine zipper (bZIP) factor to the endoplasmic reticulum (ER), but it is unknown how its activity is controlled topologically within membranes. Herein, we report a hitherto unknown mechanism by which the transactivation activity of Nrf1 is controlled through its membrane-topology. Thus after Nrf1 is anchored within ER membranes, its acidic transactivation domains (TADs), including the Asn/Ser/Thr-rich (NST) glycodomain situated between acidic domain 1 (AD1) and AD2, are transiently translocated into the lumen of the ER, where NST is glycosylated in the presence of glucose to yield an inactive 120-kDa Nrf1 glycoprotein. Subsequently, portions of the TADs partially repartition across membranes into the cyto/nucleoplasmic compartments, whereupon an active 95-kDa form of Nrf1 accumulates, a process that is more obvious in glucose-deprived cells and may involve deglycosylation. The repartitioning of Nrf1 out of membranes is monitored within this protein by its acidic-hydrophobic amphipathic glucose-responsive domains, particularly the Neh5L subdomain within AD1. Therefore, the membrane-topological organization of Nrf1 dictates its post-translational modifications (i.e. glycosylation, the putative deglycosylation and selective proteolysis), which together control its ability to transactivate target genes.
    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere93458
    Number of pages17
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


    Cite this