PICOT (GLRX3) is a positive regulator of stress-induced DNA-damage response

Pinakin Pandya, Alex Braiman, Noah Isakov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Protein kinase C (PKC)-interacting cousin of thioredoxin (PICOT; also termed glutaredoxin 3 (Glrx3)) is a ubiquitously expressed protein that possesses an N-terminal monothiol thioredoxin (Trx) domain and two C-terminal tandem copies of a monothiol Glrx domain. It has an overall highly conserved amino acid sequence and is encoded by a unique gene, both in humans and mice, without having other functional gene homologs in the entire genome. Despite being discovered almost two decades ago, the biological function of PICOT remains largely ill-defined and its ramifications are underestimated considering the fact that PICOT-deficiency in mice results in embryonic lethality. Since classical Glrxs are important regulators of the cellular redox homeostasis, we tested whether PICOT participate in the stress-induced DNA-damage response, focusing on nuclear proteins that function as integral components of the DNA repair machinery. Using wild type versus PICOT-deficient (PICOT-KD) Jurkat T cells we found that the anti-oxidant mechanism in PICOT-deficient cells is impaired, and that these cells respond to genotoxic drugs, such as etoposide and camptothecin, by increased caspase-3 activity, a reduced survival and a slower and diminished phosphorylation of the histone protein, H2AX. Nevertheless, the effect of PICOT on the drug-induced phosphorylation of H2AX was independent of the cellular levels of reactive oxygen species. PICOT-deficient cells also demonstrated reduced and slower γH2AX foci formation in response to radiation. Furthermore, immunofluorescence staining using PICOT- and γH2AX-specific Abs followed by confocal microscopy demonstrated partial localization of PICOT at the γH2AX-containing foci at the site of the DNA double strand breaks. In addition, PICOT knockdown resulted in inhibition of phosphorylation of ATR, Chk1 and Chk2 kinases, which play an essential role in the DNA-damage response and serve as upstream regulators of γH2AX. The present data suggest that PICOT protects cells from DNA damage-inducing agents by operating as an upstream positive regulator of ATR-dependent signaling pathways. By promoting the activity of ATR, PICOT indirectly regulates the phosphorylation and activation of Chk1, Chk2, and γH2AX, which are critical components of the DNA damage repair mechanism and thereby attenuate the stress- and replication-induced genome instability.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number109340
JournalCellular Signalling
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • DNA-damage response
  • GLRX3
  • Genotoxic stress
  • H2AX

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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