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Assay Drug Dev Technol. 2011 Jun;9(3):236-46. doi: 10.1089/adt.2010.0327. Epub 2010 Dec 6.

Design of a flexible cell-based assay for the evaluation of heat shock protein 70 expression modulators.

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Department of Medicine and Program in Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York.


Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) is a chaperone protein that helps protect against cellular stress, a function that may be co-opted to fight human diseases. In particular, the upregulation of Hsp70 can suppress the neurotoxicity of misfolded proteins, suggesting possible therapeutic strategies in neurodegenerative diseases. Alternatively, in cancer cells where high levels of Hsp70 inhibit both intrinsic and extrinsic apoptotic pathways, a reduction in Hsp70 levels may induce apoptosis. To evaluate and identify, in a single assay format, small molecules that induce or inhibit endogenous Hsp70, we have designed and optimized a microtiter assay that relies on whole-cell immunodetection of Hsp70. The assay utilizes a minimal number of neuronal or cancer cells, yet is sufficiently sensitive and reproducible to permit quantitative determinations. We further validated the assay using a panel of Hsp70 modulators. In conclusion, we have developed an assay that is fast, robust, and cost efficient. As such, it can be implemented in most research laboratories. The assay should greatly improve the speed at which novel Hsp70 inducers and inhibitors of expression can be identified and evaluated.

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