Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Mol Cell Biol. 1997 Sep;17(9):5317-27.

Role of the human heat shock protein hsp70 in protection against stress-induced apoptosis.

Author information

Biotechnology Research Institute, National Research Council of Canada, Montreal, Quebec.


Resistance to stress-induced apoptosis was examined in cells in which the expression of hsp70 was either constitutively elevated or inducible by a tetracycline-regulated transactivator. Heat-induced apoptosis was blocked in hsp70-expressing cells, and this was associated with reduced cleavage of the common death substrate protein poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP). Heat-induced cell death was correlated with the activation of the stress-activated protein kinase SAPK/JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase). Activation of SAPK/JNK was strongly inhibited in cells in which hsp70 was induced to a high level, indicating that hsp70 is able to block apoptosis by inhibiting signaling events upstream of SAPK/JNK activation. In contrast, SAPK/JNK activation was not inhibited by heat shock in cells with constitutively elevated levels of hsp70. Cells that constitutively overexpress hsp70 resist apoptosis induced by ceramide, a lipid signaling molecule that is generated by apoptosis-inducing treatments and is linked to SAPK/JNK activation. Similar to heat stress, resistance to ceramide-induced apoptosis occurs in spite of strong SAPK/JNK activation. Therefore, hsp70 is also able to inhibit apoptosis at some point downstream of SAPK/JNK activation. Since PARP cleavage is prevented in both cell lines, these results suggest that hsp70 is able to prevent the effector steps of apoptotic cell death. Processing of the CED-3-related protease caspase-3 (CPP32/Yama/apopain) is inhibited in hsp70-expressing cells; however, the activity of the mature enzyme is not affected by hsp70 in vitro. Caspase processing may represent a critical heat-sensitive target leading to cell death that is inhibited by the chaperoning function of hsp70. The inhibition of SAPK/JNK signaling and apoptotic protease effector steps by hsp70 likely contributes to the resistance to stress-induced apoptosis seen in transiently induced thermotolerance.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for HighWire Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center