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J Cell Biochem. 2009 May 1;107(1):179-88. doi: 10.1002/jcb.22114.

Down-regulating cold shock protein genes impairs cancer cell survival and enhances chemosensitivity.

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Department of Urology, James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21287, USA.


The microenvironment of the cancer cell is pivotal to its phenotypic regulation. One of the central components of the microenvironment is temperature. An elevation in environmental temperature has been shown to increase the cancer cell's susceptibility to chemo- and radiation therapy. The goal of the studies described here was to identify some of the pathways that are modified by a mild increase in temperature in cancer cells. Using prostate cancer cells as a model system we found that in addition to the well described and anticipated up-regulation of the heat shock family of proteins, there is a significant down-regulation of certain members of the "cold shock" family of proteins such as, RNA binding motif protein 3 (RBM3) and cold inducible RNA binding protein (CIRBP). siRNA-mediated down-regulation of the cold shock protein (CSP) encoding mRNAs dramatically attenuates cell survival in the absence of any heat application. Furthermore, we also demonstrate that knocking down the CSPs can enhance the therapeutic response of prostate cancer cells to chemotherapy. Our findings suggest that down-regulating CSPs in cancer cells may "mimic" the stress response the cells experience when exposed to heat treatment rendering them more susceptible to therapy. Thus, the pharmacological modulation of RBM3 and CIRBP may represent novel therapeutic approaches for prostate cancer.

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