Modulations of Keap1-Nrf2 signaling axis by TIIA ameliorated the oxidative stress-induced myocardial apoptosis

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Mounting evidence has strongly implicated oxidative stress in the development of cardiac dysfunction, and myocardial apoptosis contributes to the pathogenesis of heart failure. Quantitative cardiac proteomics data revealed that pressure load by TAC resulted in a significant decline in mitochondrial metabolic activity, where TIIA (Tanshinone IIA sulfonate) treatment reversed it in vivo, which might be mediated by Nrf2. In NRVMs, TIIA treatment ameliorated H2O2-induced caspase-3/9 activations through the suppression of p38 and mTOR signaling pathways, where caspase-mediated cleavage of YY1 and PARP resulted in the defects in mitochondrial biogenesis and DNA repair, and this event finally led to cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Mass spectrometry analysis showed that TIIA hydrophobically interacted with Keap1 (the cytoplasmic repressor of Nrf2) and induced its degradation in vitro. Site-directed mutagenesis of Keap1 identified V122/V123/I125 to be the critical residues for the TIIA-induced de-dimerization and degradation of Keap1. Besides, TIIA treatment also epigenetically up-regulated Nrf2 gene transcription, where it hypomethylated the first 5 CpGs of Nrf2 promoter. Furthermore, cardiac-specific Nrf2 knockout mice exhibited the significantly dampened anti-apoptotic effects of TIIA.Graphical abstractHighlightsTIIA treatment reverses ROS-mediated cardiomyocyte apoptosis.This mechanism relies on modulations of Keap1-Nrf2 signaling axis.TIIA hydrophobically interacts with Keap1 and induces its degradation.V122/V123/I125 are the critical residues for the interaction of TIIA with Keap1.TIIA treatment also epigenetically up-regulates Nrf2 gene transcription.

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