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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2001 Aug 10;63(7):475-93.

Expression of hsp 27, hsp 60, hsc 70, and hsp 70 by immortalized human proximal tubule cells (HK-2) following exposure to heat shock, sodium arsenite, or cadmium chloride.

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Program in Genetics and Developmental Biology, West Virginia University, Morgantown 26506-9251, USA.


The expression of hsp 27, hsp 60, hsc 70, and hsp 70 mRNA and protein was determined in immortalized human proximal tubule cells (HK-2) exposed to heat shock, sodium arsenite, or cadmium chloride (CdCl2) under both acute and extended conditions of exposure. It was demonstrated that the HK-2 cells did not exhibit the classic heat-shock response when subjected to an acute physical (heat) or chemical stress (sodium arsenite or CdCl2). Heat stress, elevated temperature at 42.5 degrees C for 1 h, caused a marked increase only in hsp 70 mRNA and protein, but not hsp 27 or hsp 60 mRNA and protein. Similar results were obtained when the cells were subjected to a classic chemical stress of exposure to 100 microM sodium arsenite for 4 h or CdCl2 for 4 h. These findings were in contrast to those found previously with mortal human proximal tubule (HPT) cells, where acute stress by all three stimuli elicited marked increases in hsp 27, hsp 60, and hsp 70 mRNA and protein. It was shown that the basal levels of expression of hsp 27 and hsp 60 in the HK-2 cells were elevated when compared to those found in unstressed HPT cells and that the basal levels were similar to those found in HPT cells under stress conditions. These results suggest that the failure of the HK-2 cells to increase hsp 27 and hsp 60 levels in response to physical and chemical stress is because they already possess elevated basal levels of these proteins. This would indicate that one or more of the genetic events that resulted in the immortalization of the HK-2 cells also elicited a stress response for hsp 27 and hsp 60, but not for hsp 70, stress response family members. Overall, the results suggest that although there are differences in the regulation of the stress response between the immortal HK-2 and mortal HPT cell lines, as long as these differences are recognized, the HK-2 cell line should be a valuable adjunct to study the stress response of the proximal tubule in general and when exposed to environmental pollutants such as cadmium.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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