The role of the Keap1/Nrf2 pathway in the cellular response to methylmercury

Yoshito Kumagai, Hironori Kanda, Yasuhiro Shinkai, Takashi Toyama

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)


Methylmercury (MeHg) is an environmental electrophile that covalently modifies cellular proteins with reactive thiols, resulting in the formation of protein adducts. While such protein modifications, referred to as S-mercuration, are thought to be associated with the enzyme dysfunction and cellular damage caused by MeHg exposure, the current consensus is that (1) there is a cellular response to MeHg through the activation of NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) coupled to S-mercuration of its negative regulator, Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 (Keap1), and (2) the Keap1/Nrf2 pathway protects against MeHg toxicity. In this review, we introduce our findings and discuss the observations of other workers concerning the S-mercuration of cellular proteins by MeHg and the importance of the Keap1/Nrf2 pathway in protection against MeHg toxicity in cultured cells and mice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number848279
JournalOxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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