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Cell Stress Chaperones. 2009 Jul;14(4):391-406. doi: 10.1007/s12192-008-0093-6. Epub 2008 Dec 17.

Hsp70 translocates to the nuclei and nucleoli, binds to XRCC1 and PARP-1, and protects HeLa cells from single-strand DNA breaks.

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Laboratory of General Biology, Medical School, University of Ioannina, Ioannina, Greece.


For many years, there has been uncertainty concerning the reason for Hsp70 translocation to the nucleus and nucleolus. Herein, we propose that Hsp70 translocates to the nucleus and nucleoli in order to participate in pathways related to the protection of the nucleoplasmic DNA or ribosomal DNA from single-strand breaks. The absence of Hsp70 in HeLa cells, via Hsp70 gene silencing (knockdown), indicated the essential role of Hsp70 in DNA integrity. Therefore, HeLa Hsp70 depleted cells were very sensitive in heat treatment and their DNA breaks were multiple compared to that of control HeLa cells. The molecular mechanism with which Hsp70 performs its role at the level of nucleus and nucleolus during stress was examined. Hsp70 co-localizes with PARP1 in the nucleus/nucleoli as was observed in confocal studies and binds to the BCRT domain of PARP1 as was revealed with protein-protein interaction assays. It was also found that Hsp70 binds simultaneously to XRCC1 and PARP-1, indicating that Hsp70 function takes place at the level of DNA repair and possibly at the base excision repair system. Making a hypothetical model, we have suggested that Hsp70 is the molecule that binds and interrelates with PARP1 creating the repair proteins simultaneously, such as XRCC1, at the single-strand DNA breaks. Our data partially clarify a previously unrecognized cellular response to heat stress. Finally, we can speculate that Hsp70 plays a role in the quality and integrity of DNA.

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