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Cell Stress Chaperones. 1998 Sep;3(3):188-99.

Constitutive expression of heat shock proteins Hsp90, Hsc70, Hsp70 and Hsp60 in neural and non-neural tissues of the rat during postnatal development.

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Department of Zoology, University of Toronto, West Hill, Ontario, Canada.


Heat shock proteins (Hsps) are a group of highly conserved proteins, that are constitutively expressed in most cells under normal physiological conditions. Previous work from our laboratory has shown that neurons in the adult brain exhibit high levels of Hsp90 and Hsc70 mRNA and protein, as well as basal levels of Hsp70 mRNA. We have now investigated the expression of Hsp90, Hsc70, Hsp60 and Hsp70 in neural and non-neural tissues of the rat during postnatal development, a time of extensive cell differentiation. Western blot analysis revealed constitutive expression of these Hsps early in postnatal development. Developmental profiles of these Hsps suggest that they are differentially regulated during postnatal development of the rat. For example, while levels of Hsp90 decrease somewhat in certain developing brain regions, levels of Hsp60 show a developmental increase, and Hsc70 protein is abundant throughout postnatal neural development. Low basal levels of Hsp70 are also observed in the developing and adult brain. A pronounced decrease in Hsp90 and Hsc70 was observed during postnatal development of the kidney while levels of Hsp60 increased. In addition, tissue-specific differences in the relative levels of these Hsps between brain and non-brain regions were found. Immunocytochemical studies demonstrated a neuronal localization of Hsp90, Hsc70 and Hsp60 at all stages of postnatal development examined as well as in the adult, suggesting a role for Hsps in both the developing and fully differentiated neuron. The developmental expression of subunit IV of cytochrome oxidase was similar to that of Hsp60, a protein localized predominantly to mitochondria.

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