Nrf1-mediated transcriptional regulation of the proteasome requires a functional TIP60 complex [Protein Synthesis and Degradation]

December 17th, 2018 by Janakiram R Vangala, Senthil K Radhakrishnan

Inhibition of the proteasome leads to proteotoxic stress which is characterized by the buildup of ubiquitinated proteins that cannot be degraded properly. The transcription factor Nrf1 (also called NFE2L1) counteracts proteotoxic stress by inducing transcription of proteasome subunit genes resulting in the restoration of proteasome activity. Further understanding of the Nrf1 pathway is therefore of interest in both neurodegeneration, where proteasome activity could be enhanced, and cancer, where suppression of this pathway could potentiate the cell-killing effect mediated by proteasome inhibitor drugs. Here, to identify novel regulators of Nrf1, we performed an RNA interference screen in an engineered cell line reporting on Nrf1 transcriptional activity. In addition to validating known regulators, we discovered that the AAA+ ATPase RUVBL1 is necessary for Nrf1’s transcriptional activity. Given that RUVBL1 is part of different multi-subunit complexes that play key roles in transcription, we dissected this phenomenon further and found that the TIP60 chromatin regulatory complex is essential for Nrf1-dependent transcription of proteasome genes. Consistent with these observations, Nrf1, RUVBL1, and TIP60 proteins were co-recruited to the promoter regions of proteasome genes after proteasome inhibitor treatments. More importantly, depletion of RUVBL1 or TIP60 in various cancer cells sensitized them to cell death induced by proteasome inhibition. Overall, our study provides a framework for manipulating the TIP60-Nrf1 axis to alter proteasome function in various human diseases including cancer.