Transcriptional regulation of the human NAD(P) H:Quinone oxidoreductase (NQO1) gene by monofunctional inducers

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The upstream region of the human NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase (NQO1) gene contains a functional antioxidant responsive element (ARE) and an overlapping 12-O-tetradecanoyl-phorbol-13-acetate responsive element (TRE), with the sequence TGACTCAGCA. We show that the ARE (TGACNNNGCA) is required for induction by redox cycling phenolics (p-benzoquinone, catechol and hydroquinone), which are monofunctional inducers and induce NQO1 without the requirement for activation by cytochrome P-450. The TRE (TGACTCA) is involved only in basal expression. A plasmid containing overlapping ARE-TRE (TGACTCAGCA) sequences (-587 to -379) from the NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase gene was transiently transfected into Hep G2 cells. In the absence of inducers, basal expression was 4-fold higher than in F9 cells (which lack AP-1 activity). Using subcloned oligonucleotides containing the ARE-TRE sequence (-473 to -440), the ARE sequence alone (TCA changed to GAC) and the TRE sequence alone (GC changed to TA), the basal level of expression was in the order: TRE > TRE-ARE > ARE in Hep G2 cells. Using F9 cells, basal expression was detected using the combination ARE-TRE sequence or the ARE, but not the TRE alone. p-Benzoquinone, catechol and hydroquinone, but not resorcinol, induced gene expression in both Hep G2 and F9 cells via the ARE-TRE and ARE sequences, but the TRE sequence did not contribute to this induction. We therefore conclude that induction of human NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductase by monofunctional inducers is via the ARE and not the TRE, and that the induction is mediated by proteins other than Fos and Jun.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-110
Number of pages7
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta - Gene Structure and Expression
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Jun 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • Antioxidant responsive element
  • Chloramphenicol acetyltransferase
  • Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
  • Glutathione S-transferase

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