Polo-like kinase 2 activates an antioxidant pathway to promote the survival of cells with mitochondrial dysfunction

Jie Li, Wenzhe Ma, Ping Yuan Wang, Paula J. Hurley, Fred Bunz, Paul M. Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We previously reported that Polo-like kinase 2 (PLK2) is highly expressed in cells with defective mitochondrial respiration and is essential for their survival. Although PLK2 has been widely studied as a cell cycle regulator, we have uncovered an antioxidant function for this kinase that activates the GSK3-NRF2 signaling pathway. Here, we report that the expression of PLK2 is responsive to oxidative stress and that PLK2 mediates antioxidant signaling by phosphorylating GSK3, thereby promoting the nuclear translocation of NRF2. We further show that the antioxidant activity of PLK2 is essential for preventing p53-dependent necrotic cell death. Thus, the regulation of redox homeostasis by PLK2 promotes the survival of cells with dysfunctional mitochondria, which may have therapeutic implications for cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)270-277
Number of pages8
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Volume73
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2014

Keywords

  • Antioxidant
  • Free radicals
  • GSK3
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction
  • NRF2
  • Necrosis
  • Oxidative stress
  • Polo-like kinase 2
  • p53

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)

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