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Development of Keap1-Nrf2 interaction inhibitors is a promising strategy for the discovery of therapeutic agents against oxidative stress-mediated diseases. Two motifs of Nrf2, ETGE and DLG motif, are responsible for Keap1-Nrf2 binding. Previously, ETGE peptide or ETGE-derived peptide-based approaches were used to detect Keap1-Nrf2 interaction; however, these approaches are not able to monitor Keap1-DLG motif binding. We first report here a novel Enzyme-linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) approach to detect the protein-protein interaction of full length Keap1 and Nrf2. In our assay, the test compounds can target either ETGE or DLG binding site, therefore facilitating the exploration of diverse Keap1-Nrf2 inhibitors. Three FDA-approved drugs, zafirlukast, dutasteride and ketoconazole, were found to inhibit the Keap1-Nrf2 interaction with IC50 of 5.87, 2.81 and 1.67 μM, respectively. Additionally, these three drugs also activated Nrf2 pathway in neuroblasts and lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-challenged mice. The results presented here indicate that the ELISA approach has the capacity to identify Keap1-Nrf2 inhibitors.

Original publication




Journal article


Redox Biol

Publication Date





ELISA, FDA approved Drugs, Keap1-Nrf2 interaction inhibitor, Animals, Binding Sites, Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay, Kelch-Like ECH-Associated Protein 1, Mice, NF-E2-Related Factor 2, Protein Binding