A functional pseudogene, NMRAL2P, is regulated by Nrf2 and serves as a coactivator of NQO1 in sulforaphane‐treated colon cancer cells Academic Article uri icon


  • SCOPE: The anticancer agent sulforaphane (SFN) acts via multiple mechanisms to modulate gene expression, including the induction of nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 (Nrf2)-dependent signaling and the inhibition of histone deacetylase activity. Transcriptomics studies were performed in SFN-treated human colon cancer cells and in nontransformed colonic epithelial cells in order to pursue new mechanistic leads. METHODS AND RESULTS: RNA-sequencing corroborated the expected changes in cancer-related pathways after SFN treatment. In addition to NAD(P)H quinone dehydrogenase 1 (NQO1) and other well-known Nrf2-dependent targets, SFN strongly induced the expression of Loc344887. This noncoding RNA was confirmed as a novel functional pseudogene for NmrA-like redox sensor 1, and was given the name NmrA-like redox sensor 2 pseudogene (NMRAL2P). Chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments corroborated the presence of Nrf2 interactions on the NMRAL2P genomic region, and interestingly, NMRAL2P also served as a coregulator of NQO1 in human colon cancer cells. Silencing of NMRAL2P via CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing protected against SFN-mediated inhibition of cancer cell growth, colony formation, and migration. CONCLUSION: NMRAL2P is the first functional pseudogene to be identified both as a direct transcriptional target of Nrf2, and as a downstream regulator of Nrf2-dependent NQO1 induction. Further studies are warranted on NMRAL2P-Nrf2 crosstalk and the associated mechanisms of gene regulation.

altmetric score

  • 9.5

author list (cited authors)

  • Johnson, G. S., Li, J., Beaver, L. M., Dashwood, W. M., Sun, D., Rajendran, P., ... Dashwood, R. H.

citation count

  • 20

publication date

  • January 2017