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J Biol Chem. 2001 Jun 29;276(26):23554-61. Epub 2001 Apr 24.

Resolution, detection, and characterization of redox conformers of human HSF1.

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  • 1Graduate Program in Cell and Developmental Biology and Department of Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Rutgers State University, Piscataway, New Jersey 08854-8082, USA.


We describe here an experimental protocol for the resolution, detection, and quantitation of the reduced and oxidized conformers of human heat shock factor 1 (hHSF1) and report on the effects in vitro and in vivo of redox-active agents on the redox status, structure, and function of hHSF1. We showed that diamide, a reagent that promotes disulfide bond formation, caused a loss of immunorecognition of the monomeric hHSF1 protein in a standard Western blot detection procedure. Modification of the Western blot procedure to include dithiothreitol in the equilibration and transfer buffers after gel electrophoresis allowed for the detection of a compact, intramolecularly disulfide cross-linked oxidized hHSF1 (ox-hHSF1) in the diamide-treated sample. The effect of diamide was blocked by pretreatment with N-ethylmaleimide and was reversed by dithiothreitol added to the sample prior to gel electrophoresis. Incubation with nitrosoglutathione at 42 degrees C also promoted the conversion of HSF1 to ox-HSF1; at 25 degrees C, however, nitrosoglutathione was by itself without effect but blocked the formation of ox-hHSF1 in the presence of diamide. The disulfide cross-linked ox-hHSF1 was monomeric and resistant to the in vitro heat-induced trimerization and activation. The possibility that ox-HSF1 may occur in oxidatively stressed cells was evaluated. Treatment of HeLa cells with 2 mm l-buthionine sulfoximine promoted the formation of ox-HSF1 and blocked the heat-induced activation of HSF DNA binding activity. Our result suggests that hHSF1 may have integrated redox chemistry of cysteine sulfhydryl into its functional responses.

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