Su S, Yang X, Omiecinski CJ
In humans, microsomal epoxide hydrolase (mEH) contributes important biological functions that underlie both detoxification and bioactivation fates arising from exposures to foreign chemicals. Previously, we discovered that human mEH gene transcription is initiated from alternative promoters. The respective transcripts are programmed with tissue specificity and the upstream E1b promoter contributes predominantly to mEH expression. The results presented demonstrate that exposures to the Nrf2 activators, sulforaphane (SFN) and tert-butylhydroquinone (tBHQ), markedly activate E1b transcription in human lung and liver cells. Genomic analyses identified two major DNase I hypersensitive regions (HS-1 and HS-2) within the ~15kb intervening sequence separating E1b from the downstream E1 promoter. In BEAS-2B cells, the Nrf2 effectors, SFN and tBHQ, selectively activated the more distal HS-2 through an antioxidant response element (ARE). An activator protein 1/12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate interaction was further identified within the HS-2 enhancer that functioned to additionally contribute to ARE-mediated induction responsiveness of the E1b promoter. The results demonstrate that ARE modulation, integrated with additional transcriptional complexes, regulates the tissue-specific expression of mEH and that these processes likely coordinate both the protective and bioactivation functions contributed by mEH activities in human tissues.