P14 - Glutathione is essential to preserve nuclear function and cell survival under oxidative stress
Review articleOpen access

AbstractOrganisms growing in aerobic environments must cope with Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). Although ROS damage all the cellular macromolecules, they play a central role in a range of biological processes requiring a tight control of redox homeostasis. It is achieved by antioxidant systems involving a large collection of enzymes that scavenge or degrade the ROS produced endogenously during cell growth. In addition to this enzymatic protection against ROS, cells also contain small antioxidant molecules, such as glutathione (GSH). With an intracellular concentration between 1 and 10 mM, GSH is the most abundant non-protein thiol in the cell and is considered as the major redox buffer of the cell. To better characterize its essential function during oxidative stress conditions, we studied the physiological response of H2O2-treated yeast cells containing different amounts of GSH.We showed that the transcriptional response of GSH-depleted cells is severely impaired, despite an efficient nuclear accumulation of the transcription factor Yap1. Moreover, oxidative stress generates high genome instability in GSH-depleted cells, but does not activate the checkpoint kinase Rad53. Surprisingly, scarce amounts of intracellular GSH are sufficient to preserve cell viability under H2O2 treatment. In these cells, oxidative stress still causes the accumulation of oxidized proteins and the inactivation of the translational activity, but nuclear DNA and nuclear functions are protected against oxidative injury, as exemplified by low mutation frequency, moderate histone carbonylation, activation of the checkpoint kinase Rad53 and of the H2O2 transcriptional response.We conclude that the essential role of GSH is to preserve nuclear function, allowing cell survival and growth resumption after oxidative stress release. We propose that cytosolic proteins are part of a protective machinery that shields the nucleus by scavenging reactive oxygen species before they can cross the nuclear membrane.

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