Interaction of the NRF2 and p63 transcription factors promotes keratinocyte proliferation in the epidermis

Svitlana Kurinna, Kristin Seltmann, Andreas Bachmann, Andreas Schwendimann, Lalitha Thiagarajan, Paulina Hennig, Hans-Dietmar Beer, Maria Rosaria Mollo, Caterina Missero, Sabine Werner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epigenetic regulation of cell and tissue function requires the coordinated action of transcription factors. However, their combinatorial activities during regeneration remain largely unexplored. Here we discover an unexpected interaction between the cytoprotective transcription factor NRF2 and p63, a key player in epithelial morphogenesis. Chromatin immunoprecipitation combined with sequencing and reporter assays identifies enhancers and promoters that are simultaneously activated by NRF2 and p63 in human keratinocytes. Modeling of p63 and NRF2 binding to nucleosomal DNA suggests their chromatin-assisted interaction. Pharmacological and genetic activation of NRF2 increases NRF2-p63 binding to enhancers and promotes keratinocyte proliferation, which involves the common NRF2-p63 target cyclin-dependent kinase 12. These results unravel a collaborative function of NRF2 and p63 in the control of epidermal renewal and suggest their combined activation as a strategy to promote repair of human skin and other stratified epithelia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3748–3763
JournalNucleic Acids Res
Issue number7
Early online date25 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021


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