Nuclear TIGAR mediates an epigenetic and metabolic autoregulatory loop via NRF2 in cancer therapeutic resistance

Hong Wang, Qianqian Wang, Guodi Cai, Zhijian Duan, Zoann Nugent, Jie Huang, Jianwei Zheng, Alexander D. Borowsky, Jian Jian Li, Peiqing Liu, Hsing Jien Kung, Leigh Murphy, Hong Wu Chen, Junjian Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Metabolic and epigenetic reprogramming play important roles in cancer therapeutic resistance. However, their interplays are poorly understood. We report here that elevated TIGAR (TP53-induced glycolysis and apoptosis regulator), an antioxidant and glucose metabolic regulator and a target of oncogenic histone methyltransferase NSD2 (nuclear receptor binding SET domain protein 2), is mainly localized in the nucleus of therapeutic resistant tumor cells where it stimulates NSD2 expression and elevates global H3K36me2 mark. Mechanistically, TIGAR directly interacts with the antioxidant master regulator NRF2 and facilitates chromatin recruitment of NRF2, H3K4me3 methylase MLL1 and elongating Pol-II to stimulate the expression of both new (NSD2) and established (NQO1/2, PRDX1 and GSTM4) targets of NRF2, independent of its enzymatic activity. Nuclear TIGAR confers cancer cell resistance to chemotherapy and hormonal therapy in vitro and in tumors through effective maintenance of redox homeostasis. In addition, nuclear accumulation of TIGAR is positively associated with NSD2 expression in clinical tumors and strongly correlated with poor survival. These findings define a nuclear TIGAR-mediated epigenetic autoregulatory loop in redox rebalance for tumor therapeutic resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1871-1884
Number of pages14
JournalActa Pharmaceutica Sinica B
Issue number4
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Epigenetic reprogramming
  • Metabolism
  • NRF2
  • NSD2
  • Oxidative stress
  • Redox homeostasis
  • Therapeutic resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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