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PLoS One. 2010 Jan 14;5(1):e8719. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0008719.

Modulation of Akt and ERK1/2 pathways by resveratrol in chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) cells results in the downregulation of Hsp70.

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Crystallography and Molecular Biology Division, Saha Institute of Nuclear Physics, Kolkata, India.



Resveratrol is known to downregulate the high endogenous level of Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) in Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) K562 cells and induce apoptosis. Since Heat Shock Factor 1 (HSF1) controls transcription of Hsp70, we wanted to probe the signaling pathways responsible for transcriptional activation of HSF1.


Cells exposed to 40microM Resveratrol rapidly abolished serine473 phosphorylation of Akt and significantly reduced its kinase activity. Inactivation of Akt pathway by Resveratrol subsequently blocked serine9 phosphorylation of Gsk3beta. Active non-phosphorylated Gsk3beta rendered HSF1 transcriptionally inactive and reduced Hsp70 production. Blocking PI3K/Akt activity also demonstrated similar effects on Hsp70 comparable to Resveratrol. Inactivation of Gsk3beta activity by inhibitors SB261763 or LiCl upregulated Hsp70. Resveratrol significantly modulated ERK1/2 activity as evident from hyper phosphorylation at T302/Y304 residues and simultaneous upregulation in kinase activity. Blocking ERK1/2 activation resulted in induction of Hsp70. Therefore, increase in ERK1/2 activity by Resveratrol provided another negative influence on Hsp70 levels through negative regulation of HSF1 activity. 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17AAG), a drug that inhibits Hsp90 chaperone and degrades its client protein Akt concomitantly elevated Hsp70 levels by promoting nuclear translocation of HSF1 from the cytosol. This effect is predominantly due to inhibition of both Akt and ERK1/2 activation by 17AAG. Simultaneously treating K562 with Resveratrol and 17AAG maintained phosho-ERK1/2 levels close to untreated controls demonstrating their opposite effects on ERK1/2 pathway. Resveratrol was found not to interfere with Bcr-Abl activation in K562 cells.


Thus our study comprehensively illustrates that Resveratrol acts downstream of Bcr-Abl and inhibits Akt activity but stimulates ERK1/2 activity. This brings down the transcriptional activity of HSF1 and Hsp70 production in K562 cells. Additionally, Resveratrol can be used in combination with chemotherapeutic agents such as 17AAG, an Hsp90 inhibitor reported to induce Hsp70 and hence compromise its chemotherapeutic potential.

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