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Exp Cell Res. 1990 Sep;190(1):57-64.

Acquired thermotolerance following heat shock protein synthesis prevents impairment of mitochondrial ATPase activity at elevated temperatures in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.

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International Institute of Genetics and Biophysics, CNR, Naples, Italy.


The complex molecular response of cells to sudden temperature changes is a well-characterized phenomenon. Although it is clear that the induction of heat shock proteins provides protection from heat in all of the organisms so far tested, very little is known about the role that this set of proteins plays in cellular homeostasis. Recently, putative roles for hsp60 and hsp70-like proteins have been proposed in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. hsp70-like proteins have been shown to be necessary for translocation of precursor polypeptides into mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum, while hsp60 is required for the assembly of precursor polypeptides into oligomeric complexes following incorporation into the mitochondrial matrix. In this paper, we report that a brief temperature shock (44 degrees C) impairs coupling of oxidative phosphorylation in S. cerevisiae as measured indirectly by the Cl-CCP/oligomycin assay. Furthermore, at high temperature oligomycin stimulates rather than inhibits oxygen uptake under nonthermotolerant conditions. Pretreatment of cells for a short period of time at 37 degrees C, prior to exposure to higher temperatures rescues the capacity to maintain coupling between oxidative phosphorylation and electron transport. Inhibition of cytoplasmic RNA or protein synthesis during heat shock prevents the protection of this mitochondrial activity. We propose that one of the roles of the induction of heat shock proteins (or related activities) is to protect mitochondrial ATPase activity under conditions of further increase in temperature.

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