After sudden traumatic brain injuries, secondary injuries may occur during the following days or weeks, which leads to the accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Since ROS exacerbate brain damage, it is important to protect neurons against their activity. Zinc finger protein 179 (Znf179) was shown to act as a neuroprotective factor, but the regulation of gene expression under oxidative stress remains unknown. In this study, we demonstrated an increase in Znf179 protein levels in both in vitro model of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced ROS accumulation and animal models of traumatic brain injury. Additionally, we examined the sub-cellular localization of Znf179, and demonstrated that oxidative stress increases Znf179 nuclear shuttling and its interaction with specificity protein 1 (Sp1). Subsequently, the positive autoregulation of Znf179 expression, which is Sp1-dependent, was further demonstrated using luciferase reporter assay and green fluorescent protein (GFP)-Znf179-expressing cells and transgenic mice. The upregulation of Sp1 transcriptional activity induced by the treatment with nerve growth factor (NGF) led to an increase in Znf179 levels, which further protected cells against H2O2-induced damage. However, Sp1 inhibitor, mithramycin A, was shown to inhibit NGF effects, leading to a decrease in Znf179 expression and lower cellular protection. In conclusion, the results obtained in this study show that Znf179 autoregulation through Sp1-dependent mechanism plays an important role in neuroprotection, and NGF-induced Sp1 signaling may help attenuate more extensive (ROS-induced) damage following brain injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas