Jessica D. Rosarda, Kelsey R. Baron, Kayla Nutsch, Gabriel M. Kline, Caroline Stanton, Jeffery W. Kelly, Michael J. Bollong, and R. Luke Wiseman
ACS Chemical Biology 2021
The extracellular accumulation of glutamate is a pathologic hallmark of numerous neurodegenerative diseases including ischemic stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. At high extracellular concentrations, glutamate causes neuronal damage by promoting oxidative stress, which can lead to cellular death. This has led to significant interest in developing pharmacologic approaches to mitigate the oxidative toxicity caused by high levels of glutamate. Here, we show that the small molecule proteostasis regulator AA147 protects against glutamate-induced cell death in a neuronal-derived cell culture model. While originally developed as an activator of the activating transcription factor 6 (ATF6) arm of the unfolded protein response, this AA147-dependent protection against glutamate toxicity is primarily mediated through activation of the NRF2-regulated oxidative stress response. We demonstrate that AA147 activates NRF2 selectively in neuronal-derived cells through a mechanism involving metabolic activation to a reactive electrophile and covalent modification of KEAP1─a mechanism analogous to that involved in the AA147-dependent activation of ATF6. These results define the potential for AA147 to protect against glutamate-induced oxidative toxicity and highlight the potential for metabolically activated proteostasis regulators like AA147 to activate both protective ATF6 and NRF2 stress-responsive signaling pathways to mitigate oxidative damage associated with diverse neurologic diseases.