Quinones increase γ-glutamyl transpeptidase expression by multiple mechanisms in rat lung epithelial cells

Rui Ming Liu, Michael Ming Shi, Cecilia R Giulivi, Henry Jay Forman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


γ-Glutamyl transpeptidase (GGT) plays an-important role in glutathione (GSH) metabolism. GGT expression is increased in oxidant-challenged cells; however, the signaling mechanisms involved are uncertain. The present study used 2,3-dimethoxy-1,4-naphthoquinone (DMNQ), a redox cycling quinone that continuously produced H2O2 in rat lung epithelial L2 cells. It was found that DMNQ increased GGT mRNA content by increasing transcription, as measured by nuclear run-on. This was accompanied by increased GGT specific activity. Cycloheximide, a protein synthesis inhibitor, blocked neither the increased GGT mRNA content nor the increased GGT transcription rate caused by DMNQ, suggesting that increased GGT transcription was a direct rather than secondary response. Previous data from this laboratory (R.-M. Liu, H. Hu, T. W. Robison, and H. J. Forman. Am. J. Respir. Cell Mol. Biol. 14: 186-191, 1996) showed that tert-butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) increased GGT mRNA content by increasing its stability. TBHQ differs markedly from DMNQ in terms of its conjugation with GSH and H2O2 generation. Together, the data suggest that quinones upregulate GGT through multiple mechanisms, increased transcription and posttranscriptional modulation, which are apparently mediated through generation of reactive oxygen species and GSH conjugate formation, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number3 18-3
StatePublished - Mar 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Cycloheximide
  • Glutathione
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Hydroquinone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cell Biology
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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