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Nature. 2007 Jan 4;445(7123):102-5. Epub 2006 Dec 10.

Hsp70 regulates erythropoiesis by preventing caspase-3-mediated cleavage of GATA-1.

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CNRS UMR 8147, Faculté de Médecine et Université René Descartes Paris V, Institut Fédérative Necker, 75270 Paris, France.


Caspase-3 is activated during both terminal differentiation and erythropoietin-starvation-induced apoptosis of human erythroid precursors. The transcription factor GATA-1, which performs an essential function in erythroid differentiation by positively regulating promoters of erythroid and anti-apoptotic genes, is cleaved by caspases in erythroid precursors undergoing cell death upon erythropoietin starvation or engagement of the death receptor Fas. In contrast, by an unknown mechanism, GATA-1 remains uncleaved when these cells undergo terminal differentiation upon stimulation with Epo. Here we show that during differentiation, but not during apoptosis, the chaperone protein Hsp70 protects GATA-1 from caspase-mediated proteolysis. At the onset of caspase activation, Hsp70 co-localizes and interacts with GATA-1 in the nucleus of erythroid precursors undergoing terminal differentiation. In contrast, erythropoietin starvation induces the nuclear export of Hsp70 and the cleavage of GATA-1. In an in vitro assay, Hsp70 protects GATA-1 from caspase-3-mediated proteolysis through its peptide-binding domain. The use of RNA-mediated interference to decrease the Hsp70 content of erythroid precursors cultured in the presence of erythropoietin leads to GATA-1 cleavage, a decrease in haemoglobin content, downregulation of the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-X(L), and cell death by apoptosis. These effects are abrogated by the transduction of a caspase-resistant GATA-1 mutant. Thus, in erythroid precursors undergoing terminal differentiation, Hsp70 prevents active caspase-3 from cleaving GATA-1 and inducing apoptosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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