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Concept: Heat shock protein


Systemic chemotherapy using two-drug platinum-based regimens for the treatment of advanced stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has largely reached a plateau of effectiveness. Accordingly, efforts to improve survival and quality of life outcomes have more recently focused on the use of molecularly targeted agents, either alone or in combination with standard of care therapies such as taxanes. The molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) represents an attractive candidate for therapeutic intervention, as its inhibition results in the simultaneous blockade of multiple oncogenic signaling cascades. Ganetespib is a non-ansamycin inhibitor of Hsp90 currently under clinical evaluation in a number of human malignancies, including NSCLC. Here we show that ganetespib potentiates the cytotoxic activity of the taxanes paclitaxel and docetaxel in NSCLC models. The combination of ganetespib with paclitaxel, docetaxel or another microtubule-targeted agent vincristine resulted in synergistic antiproliferative effects in the H1975 cell line in vitro. These benefits translated to improved efficacy in H1975 xenografts in vivo, with significantly enhanced tumor growth inhibition observed in combination with paclitaxel and tumor regressions seen with docetaxel. Notably, concurrent exposure to ganetespib and docetaxel improved antitumor activity in 5 of 6 NSCLC xenograft models examined. Our data suggest that the improved therapeutic indices are likely to be mechanistically multifactorial, including loss of pro-survival signaling and direct cell cycle effects resulting from Hsp90 modulation by ganetespib. Taken together, these findings provide preclinical evidence for the use of this combination to treat patients with advanced NSCLC.

Concepts: Cancer, Lung cancer, Non-small cell lung carcinoma, Cancer staging, Chemotherapy, Chaperone, Heat shock protein, Paclitaxel


How small heat shock proteins (sHsps) might empower proteostasis networks to control beneficial prions or disassemble pathological amyloid is unknown. Here, we establish that yeast sHsps, Hsp26 and Hsp42, inhibit prionogenesis by the [PSI+] prion protein, Sup35, via distinct and synergistic mechanisms. Hsp42 prevents conformational rearrangements within molten oligomers that enable de novo prionogenesis and collaborates with Hsp70 to attenuate self-templating. By contrast, Hsp26 inhibits self-templating upon binding assembled prions. sHsp binding destabilizes Sup35 prions and promotes their disaggregation by Hsp104, Hsp70, and Hsp40. In yeast, Hsp26 or Hsp42 overexpression prevents [PSI+] induction, cures [PSI+], and potentiates [PSI+]-curing by Hsp104 overexpression. In vitro, sHsps enhance Hsp104-catalyzed disaggregation of pathological amyloid forms of α-synuclein and polyglutamine. Unexpectedly, in the absence of Hsp104, sHsps promote an unprecedented, gradual depolymerization of Sup35 prions by Hsp110, Hsp70, and Hsp40. This unanticipated amyloid-depolymerase activity is conserved from yeast to humans, which lack Hsp104 orthologues. A human sHsp, HspB5, stimulates depolymerization of α-synuclein amyloid by human Hsp110, Hsp70, and Hsp40. Thus, we elucidate a heretofore-unrecognized human amyloid-depolymerase system that could have applications in various neurodegenerative disorders.

Concepts: Proteins, Protein, Cell, Protein folding, Prion, Amyloid, Heat shock protein, Transmissible spongiform encephalopathy


Pirfenidone is a novel anti-fibrotic and anti-inflammatory agent that inhibits the progression of fibrosis in animal models and in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). We previously showed that pirfenidone inhibits the over-expression of collagen type I and of heat shock protein (HSP) 47, a collagen-specific molecular chaperone, in human lung fibroblasts stimulated with transforming growth factor (TGF)-β1 in vitro. The increased numbers of HSP47-positive type II pneumocytes as well as fibroblasts were also diminished by pirfenidone in an animal model of pulmonary fibrosis induced by bleomycin. The present study evaluates the effects of pirfenidone on collagen type I and HSP47 expression in the human alveolar epithelial cell line, A549 cells in vitro.

Concepts: Protein, Cell, Lung, Collagen, Fibrosis, Chaperone, Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, Heat shock protein


Heat shock protein information resource (HSPIR) is a concerted database of six major heat shock proteins (HSPs), namely, Hsp70, Hsp40, Hsp60, Hsp90, Hsp100 and small HSP. The HSPs are essential for the survival of all living organisms, as they protect the conformations of proteins on exposure to various stress conditions. They are a highly conserved group of proteins involved in diverse physiological functions, including de novo folding, disaggregation and protein trafficking. Moreover, their critical role in the control of disease progression made them a prime target of research. Presently, limited information is available on HSPs in reference to their identification and structural classification across genera. To that extent, HSPIR provides manually curated information on sequence, structure, classification, ontology, domain organization, localization and possible biological functions extracted from UniProt, GenBank, Protein Data Bank and the literature. The database offers interactive search with incorporated tools, which enhances the analysis. HSPIR is a reliable resource for researchers exploring structure, function and evolution of HSPs.

Concepts: DNA, Protein structure, Gene, Biology, Organism, Chaperone, Heat shock protein, Bioinformatics databases


BACKGROUND: Although the aggregation of PrPSc is thought to be crucial for the neuropathology of prion diseases, there is evidence in cultured cells and transgenic mice that neuronal death can be triggered by the accumulation of cytosolic PrPs, leading to the hypothesis that the accumulation of PrPs in the cytosol of neurons may be a primary neurotoxic culprit. Hsp70, a molecular chaperone involved in protein folding/refolding and degradation in the cytoplasm, has a protective effect in some models of neurodegenerative diseases, e.g., Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, but its role in prion diseases remains unclear. RESULTS: To study the role of Hsp70 in prion diseases, we used immunoprecipitation to first identify a molecular interaction between Hsp70 and PrPs. Using immunofluorescence, we found that Hsp70 colocalized with cytosolic PrPs in HEK293 cells transiently transfected with plasmids for Cyto-PrP and PG14-PrP but not with wild-type PG5-PrP or endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-retained PrPs (3AV-PrP and ER-PrP). Using western blot analysis and apoptosis assays of cultured cells, we found that the overexpression of Hsp70 by transfection or the activation of Hsp70 by geldanamycin selectively mediated the degradation of cytosolic PrPs and restored cytosolic PrP-induced cytotoxicity. Moreover, we found that Hsp70 levels were up-regulated in cells expressing Cyto-PrP and in hamster brains infected with the scrapie agent 263K. CONCLUSION: These data imply that Hsp70 has central role in the metabolism of cytosolic PrPs.

Concepts: Protein, Gene expression, Cell, Molecular biology, Endoplasmic reticulum, Prion, Chaperone, Heat shock protein


BACKGROUND: Pseudomonas putida exerts a filamentous phenotype in response to environmental stress conditions that are encountered during its natural life cycle. This study assessed whether P. putida filamentation could confer survival advantages. Filamentation of P. putida was induced through culturing at low shaking speed and was compared to culturing in high shaking speed conditions, after which whole proteomic analysis and stress exposure assays were performed. RESULTS: P. putida grown in filament-inducing conditions showed increased resistance to heat and saline stressors compared to non-filamented cultures. Proteomic analysis showed a significant metabolic change and a pronounced induction of the heat shock protein IbpA and recombinase RecA in filament-inducing conditions. Our data further indicated that the associated heat shock resistance, but not filamentation, was dependent of RecA. CONCLUSIONS: This study provides insights into the altered metabolism of P. putida in filament-inducing conditions, and indicates that the formation of filaments could potentially be utilized by P. putida as a survival strategy in its hostile, recurrently changing habitat.

Concepts: Protein, Metabolism, Proteomics, Pseudomonas, Heat shock protein, Pseudomonadaceae, Pseudomonas putida, Incandescent light bulb


Heat-shock protein 70 (HSP70) is known to function as a protective molecular chaperone that is massively induced in response to misfolded proteins following cerebral ischemia. The objective of this study was to characterize HSP70 induction by Z-ligustilide and explore its potential role in protection against cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury. Our results demonstrated that the intranasal administration of Z-ligustilide reduced infarct volume and improved neurological function in a rat stroke model. Meanwhile, Z-ligustilide enhanced the cell viability of PC12 cells insulted by oxygen glucose deprivation-reoxygenation (OGD-Reoxy) and decreased apoptotic and necrotic cell death. Importantly, Z-ligustilide induced HSP70 expression both in vitro and in vivo. Although heat-shock factor 1 (HSF1) nuclear translocation was promoted by Z-ligustilide, HSP70-based heat-shock element (HSE)-binding luciferase activity was not activated, and HSP70 expression responsive to Z-ligustilide was not attenuated by HSE decoy oligonucleotides. However, Z-ligustilide significantly activated the phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs). Further inhibition of MAPK activity by specific inhibitors attenuated HSP70 induction by Z-ligustilide. Meanwhile, downregulation of HSP70 using KNK437, an HSP70 synthesis inhibitor, or small hairpin RNA (shRNA) significantly attenuated the protection of Z-ligustilide against OGD-Reoxy-induced injury. Moreover, the application of specific inhibitors of MAPKs also achieved similar results. Finally, Z-ligustilide alleviated the accumulation of ubiquitinated proteins induced by OGD-Reoxy, which was inhibited by HSP70-shRNA. Taken together, our results demonstrated that Z-ligustilide may induce protective HSP70 expression via the activation of the MAPK pathway, but not canonical HSF1 transcription. HSP70 plays a key role in the protection of Z-ligustilide against OGD-Reoxy-induced injury.

Concepts: Protein, Signal transduction, Adenosine triphosphate, Enzyme, Chaperone, Proteasome, Mitogen-activated protein kinase, Heat shock protein


Nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyl transferase 2 (NMNAT2) is neuroprotective in numerous preclinical models of neurodegeneration. Here, we show that brain nmnat2 mRNA levels correlate positively with global cognitive function and negatively with AD pathology. In AD brains, NMNAT2 mRNA and protein levels are reduced. NMNAT2 shifts its solubility and colocalizes with aggregated Tau in AD brains, similar to chaperones, which aid in the clearance or refolding of misfolded proteins. Investigating the mechanism of this observation, we discover a novel chaperone function of NMNAT2, independent from its enzymatic activity. NMNAT2 complexes with heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) to refold aggregated protein substrates. NMNAT2’s refoldase activity requires a unique C-terminal ATP site, activated in the presence of HSP90. Furthermore, deleting NMNAT2 function increases the vulnerability of cortical neurons to proteotoxic stress and excitotoxicity. Interestingly, NMNAT2 acts as a chaperone to reduce proteotoxic stress, while its enzymatic activity protects neurons from excitotoxicity. Taken together, our data indicate that NMNAT2 exerts its chaperone or enzymatic function in a context-dependent manner to maintain neuronal health.

Concepts: Proteins, Protein, Brain, Enzyme, Protein folding, Chaperone, Heat shock protein, Hsp90


Heat shock protein (HSP) 27 is related to the pathogenesis of AF. However, the clinical relationship between HSP27 and AF is unclear. The present study was conducted to determine the clinical relationship between HSP27 and atrial fibrillation (AF).

Concepts: Present, Atrial fibrillation, Atrial flutter, Heat shock protein, Hsp27


Vitiligo is an autoimmune disease characterized by destruction of melanocytes, leaving 0.5% of the population with progressive depigmentation. Current treatments offer limited efficacy. We report that modified inducible heat shock protein 70 (HSP70i) prevents T cell-mediated depigmentation. HSP70i is the molecular link between stress and the resultant immune response. We previously showed that HSP70i induces an inflammatory dendritic cell (DC) phenotype and is necessary for depigmentation in vitiligo mouse models. Here, we observed a similar DC inflammatory phenotype in vitiligo patients. In a mouse model of depigmentation, DNA vaccination with a melanocyte antigen and the carboxyl terminus of HSP70i was sufficient to drive autoimmunity. Mutational analysis of the HSP70i substrate-binding domain established the peptide QPGVLIQVYEG as invaluable for DC activation, and mutant HSP70i could not induce depigmentation. Moreover, mutant HSP70i bound human DCs and reduced their activation, as well as induced a shift from inflammatory to tolerogenic DCs in mice. HSP70i-encoding DNA applied months before spontaneous depigmentation prevented vitiligo in mice expressing a transgenic, melanocyte-reactive T cell receptor. Furthermore, use of HSP70i therapeutically in a different, rapidly depigmenting model after loss of differentiated melanocytes resulted in 76% recovery of pigmentation. Treatment also prevented relevant T cells from populating mouse skin. In addition, ex vivo treatment of human skin averted the disease-related shift from quiescent to effector T cell phenotype. Thus, HSP70i DNA delivery may offer potent treatment opportunities for vitiligo.

Concepts: Immune system, DNA, Protein, Gene, B cell, Major histocompatibility complex, Skin, Heat shock protein