Molecular Mechanism of Cellular Oxidative Stress Sensing by Keap1

Takafumi Suzuki, Aki Muramatsu, Ryota Saito, Tatsuro Iso, Takahiro Shibata, Keiko Kuwata, Shin ichi Kawaguchi, Takao Iwawaki, Saki Adachi, Hiromi Suda, Masanobu Morita, Koji Uchida, Liam Baird, Masayuki Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Citations (Scopus)


The Keap1-Nrf2 system plays a central role in the oxidative stress response; however, the identity of the reactive oxygen species sensor within Keap1 remains poorly understood. Here, we show that a Keap1 mutant lacking 11 cysteine residues retains the ability to target Nrf2 for degradation, but it is unable to respond to cysteine-reactive Nrf2 inducers. Of the 11 mutated cysteine residues, we find that 4 (Cys226/613/622/624) are important for sensing hydrogen peroxide. Our analyses of multiple mutant mice lines, complemented by MEFs expressing a series of Keap1 mutants, reveal that Keap1 uses the cysteine residues redundantly to set up an elaborate fail-safe mechanism in which specific combinations of these four cysteine residues can form a disulfide bond to sense hydrogen peroxide. This sensing mechanism is distinct from that used for electrophilic Nrf2 inducers, demonstrating that Keap1 is equipped with multiple cysteine-based sensors to detect various endogenous and exogenous stresses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)746-758.e4
JournalCell Reports
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Jul 16


  • Keap1
  • Nrf2
  • oxidative stress response
  • reactive cysteine residues


Dive into the research topics of 'Molecular Mechanism of Cellular Oxidative Stress Sensing by Keap1'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this