ATF3 promotes erastin-induced ferroptosis by suppressing system Xc

Liyuan Wang, Yichen Liu, Tingting Du, Heng Yang, Lei Lei, Mengqi Guo, Hanfei Ding, Junran Zhang, Hongbo Wang, Xiaoguang Chen, Chunhong Yan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

232 Scopus citations


The amino acid antiporter system Xc is important for the synthesis of glutathione (GSH) that functions to prevent lipid peroxidation and protect cells from nonapoptotic, iron-dependent death (i.e., ferroptosis). While the activity of system Xc often positively correlates with the expression level of its light chain encoded by SLC7A11, inhibition of system Xc activity by small molecules (e.g., erastin) causes a decrease in the intracellular GSH level, leading to ferroptotic cell death. How system Xc is regulated during ferroptosis remains largely unknown. Here we report that activating transcription factor 3 (ATF3), a common stress sensor, can promote ferroptosis induced by erastin. ATF3 suppressed system Xc, depleted intracellular GSH, and thereby promoted lipid peroxidation induced by erastin. ATF3 achieved this activity through binding to the SLC7A11 promoter and repressing SLC7A11 expression in a p53-independent manner. These findings thus add ATF3 to a short list of proteins that can regulate system Xc and promote ferroptosis repressed by this antiporter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)662-675
Number of pages14
JournalCell Death and Differentiation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'ATF3 promotes erastin-induced ferroptosis by suppressing system Xc'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this