Paredes-Gonzalez X, Fuentes F, Su ZY, Kong AN
Nrf2 is a crucial transcription factor that controls a critical anti-oxidative stress defense system and is implicated in skin homeostasis. Apigenin (API), a potent cancer chemopreventive agent, protects against skin carcinogenesis and elicits multiple molecular signaling pathways. However, the potential epigenetic effect of API in skin cancer chemoprotection is not known. In this study, bisulfite genomic DNA sequencing and methylated DNA immunoprecipitation were utilized to investigate the demethylation effect of API at 15 CpG sites in the Nrf2 promoter in mouse skin epidermal JB6 P + cells. In addition, qPCR and Western blot analyses were performed to evaluate the mRNA and protein expression of Nrf2 and the Nrf2 ARE downstream gene, NQO1. Finally, the protein expression levels of DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) and histone deacetylases (HDACs) were evaluated using API and the DNMT/HDAC inhibitor 5-aza/ trichostatin A. Our results showed that API effectively reversed the hypermethylated status of the 15 CpG sites in the Nrf2 promoter in a dose-dependent manner. API enhanced the nuclear translocation of Nrf2 and increased the mRNA and protein expression of Nrf2 and the Nrf2 downstream target gene, NQO1. Furthermore, API reduced the expression of the DNMT1, DNMT3a, and DNMT3b epigenetic proteins as well as the expression of some HDACs (1-8). Taken together, our results showed that API can restore the silenced status of Nrf2 in skin epidermal JB6 P + cells by CpG demethylation coupled with attenuated DNMT and HDAC activity. These results may provide new therapeutic insights into the prevention of skin cancer by dietary phytochemicals.