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Cell Stress Chaperones. 2010 Sep;15(5):487-95. doi: 10.1007/s12192-009-0162-5. Epub 2009 Dec 2.

Brain distribution of carboxy terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein (CHIP) and its nuclear translocation in cultured cortical neurons following heat stress or oxygen-glucose deprivation.

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  • 1Curriculum in Neurobiology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Carboxy terminus of Hsc70-interacting protein (CHIP) is thought to be a cytoprotective protein with protein quality control roles in neurodegenerative diseases and myocardial ischemia. This study describes the localization of CHIP expression in normal rodent brain and the early CHIP response in primary cultures of cortical neurons following ischemic stress models: heat stress (HS) and oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD). CHIP was highly expressed throughout the brain, predominantly in neurons. The staining pattern was primarily cytoplasmic, although small amounts were seen in the nucleus. More intense nuclear staining was observed in primary cultured neurons which increased with stress. Nuclear accumulation of CHIP occurred within 5-10 min of HS and decreased to baseline levels or lower by 30-60 min. Decrease in nuclear CHIP at 30-60 min of HS was associated with a sharp increase in delayed cell death. While no changes in cytoplasmic CHIP were observed immediately following OGD, nuclear levels of CHIP increased slightly in response to OGD durations of 30 to 240 min. OGD-induced increases in nuclear CHIP decreased slowly during post-ischemic recovery. Nuclear CHIP decreased earlier in recovery following 120 min of OGD (4 h) than 30 min of OGD (12 h). Significant cell death first appeared between 12 and 24 h after OGD, again suggesting that delayed cell death follows closely behind the disappearance of nuclear CHIP. The ability of CHIP to translocate to and accumulate in the nucleus may be a limiting variable that determines how effectively cells respond to external stressors to facilitate cell survival. Using primary neuronal cell cultures, we were able to demonstrate rapid translocation of CHIP to the nucleus within minutes of heat stress and oxygen-glucose deprivation. An inverse relationship between nuclear CHIP and delayed cell death at 24 h suggests that the decrease in nuclear CHIP following extreme stress is linked to delayed cell death. Our findings of acute changes in subcellular localization of CHIP in response to cellular stress suggest that cellular changes that occur shortly after exposure to stress ultimately impact on the capacity and capability of a cell to recover and survive.

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