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Mol Cell Neurosci. 2007 Jan;34(1):20-33. Epub 2006 Nov 20.

Manipulation of protein kinases reveals different mechanisms for upregulation of heat shock proteins in motor neurons and non-neuronal cells.

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Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 University St., Montreal, Quebec, Canada H3A 2B4.


Motor neurons have a high threshold for induction of heat shock proteins (Hsps) in response to stress, a property associated with impaired ability to activate heat shock transcription factor 1 (Hsf1). Hyperphosphorylation of Hsf1 has been established as a requirement for transactivation of heat shock genes. This study demonstrated that the impaired heat shock response in motor neurons is not due to altered phosphorylation of Hsf1 by kinases previously shown to affect activation of Hsf1 in other cells (PKC, GSK3beta, ERK1, CaMKIIalpha). However, a constitutively active form of CaMKIV induced robust expression of Hsp70, as well as transcription of a GFP reporter gene driven by the human inducible Hsp70 promoter in unstressed motor neurons, but not in mouse embryonic fibroblasts. The results point to novel mechanisms of activation of heat shock genes in motor neurons that have relevance to exploitation of endogenous stress responses therapeutically.

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