Toxicology letters

Comparison of human Nrf2 antibodies: A tale of two proteins.

PMID 26220517


The Nrf2 transcription factor is a master regulator of the cellular defense against oxidative and electrophilic stress. An increase in Nrf2 protein levels and an accumulation of Nrf2 in the nucleus are key parts of the Nrf2 activation mechanism. The western blot technique remains the most widely used method to assess these changes. A well-characterized, specific antibody that is commercially available would greatly enhance these studies in the field. Here, an apparently highly specific Nrf2 monoclonal antibody, EP1808Y from Abcam, is compared with the most widely used Nrf2 antibodies, H-300 and C-20, both from Santa Cruz Biotechnology, in a panel of human cell lines. In addition to detecting Nrf2, EP1808Y avidly detects another protein present in two of the three cell lines tested. This protein can be mistaken for Nrf2 as it co-migrates with verified Nrf2 on two different polyacrylamide gel types. However, unlike Nrf2, its levels and cytoplasmic localization are unaffected by treatment with Nrf2 activators. The possibility that this band corresponds to a form of Nrf2 was excluded by siRNA and immunodepletion experiments. Finally, the monoclonal antibody D1Z9C from Cell Signaling was found to detect Nrf2 with the highest specificity of these four antibodies.

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