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J Biol Chem. 1996 Jul 12;271(28):16510-4.

Small stress proteins as novel regulators of apoptosis. Heat shock protein 27 blocks Fas/APO-1- and staurosporine-induced cell death.

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  • 1Laboratoire du Stress Cellulaire, Centre de Génétique Moléculaire et Cellulaire, CNRS UMR-5534, Université Claude Bernard Lyon-I, 69622 Villeurbanne, France.


Small stress protein expression enhances the survival of mammalian cells exposed to numerous injuries that induce necrotic cell death. The cell surface receptor Fas/APO-1 and its ligand have been recently identified as important mediators of apoptosis. Here, we show that constitutive expression of human heat shock protein (hsp)27 in murine L929 cells blocks Fas/APO-1-mediated cell death. Expression of human hsp27 prevented anti-APO-1-induced DNA fragmentation and morphological changes. These results strongly suggest that human hsp27 acts as a cellular inhibitor of Fas/APO-1-induced apoptosis. We also report that the expression of small stress proteins from different species, such as human hsp27, Drosophila Dhsp27, or human alphaB-crystallin, confers resistance to apoptotic cell death induced by staurosporine, a protein kinase C inhibitor. Hence, small stress proteins are novel regulators that are able to block apoptosis induced by different pathways.

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