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Oncogene. 2000 Apr 13;19(16):1975-81.

Hsp27 functions as a negative regulator of cytochrome c-dependent activation of procaspase-3.

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The release of mitochondrial cytochrome c by genotoxic stress induces the formation of a cytosolic complex with Apaf-1 (mammalian CED4 homolog) and thereby the activation of procaspase-3 (cas-3) and procaspase-9 (cas-9). Here we demonstrate that heat-shock protein 27 (Hsp27) inhibits cytochrome c (cyt c)-dependent activation of cas-3. Hsp27 had no effect on cyt c release, Apaf-1 and cas-9 activation. By contrast, our results show that Hsp27 associates with cas-3, but not Apaf-1 or cas-9, and inhibits activation of cas-3 by cas-9-mediated proteolysis. Furthermore, the present results demonstrate that immunodepletion of Hsp27 depletes cas-3. Importantly, treatment of cells with DNA damaging agents dissociates the Hsp27/cas-3 complex and relieves inhibition of cas-3 activation. These findings define a novel function for Hsp27 and provide the first evidence that a heat shock protein represses cas-3 activation.

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