The human heat shock transcription factor (HSF) is maintained in an inactive non-DNA-binding form under nonstress conditions and acquires the ability to bind specifically to the heat shock promoter element in response to elevated temperatures or other conditions that disrupt protein structure. Here we show that constitutive overexpression of the major inducible heat shock protein, hsp70, in transfected human cells reduces the extent of HSF activation after a heat stress. HSF activation was inhibited more strongly in clones that express higher levels of hsp70. These results demonstrate that HSF activity is negatively regulated in vivo by hsp70 and suggest that the cell might sense elevated temperature as a decreased availability of hsp70. HSF activation in response to treatment with sodium arsenite or the proline analog azetidine was also depressed in hsp70-expressing cells relative to that in the nontransfected control cells. As well, the level of activated HSF decreased more rapidly in the hsp70-expressing clones when the cells were heat shocked and returned to 37 degrees C. These results suggest that hsp70 could play an active role in the conversion of HSF back to a conformation that does not bind the heat shock promoter element during the attenuation of the heat shock response.
Transcriptional activation of heat shock genes is a reversible and multistep process involving conversion of inactive heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) monomers into heat shock element (HSE)-binding homotrimers, hyperphosphorylation, and further modifications that induce full transcriptional competence. HSF1 is controlled by multiple regulatory mechanisms, including suppression by additional cellular factors, physical interactions with HSP70, and integration into different cellular signaling cascades. However, the signaling mechanisms by which cells respond to stress and control the HSF1 activation-deactivation pathway are not known. Here we demonstrate that HSP90, a cellular chaperone known to regulate several signal transduction molecules and transcription factors, functions in the regulation of HSF1. The existence of HSF1-HSP90 heterocomplexes was shown by coimmunoprecipitation of HSP90 with HSF1 from unshocked and heat-shocked nuclear extracts, recognition of HSF1-HSE complexes in vitro by using HSP90 antibodies (Abs), and recognition of HSF1 in vivo by HSP90 Abs microinjected directly into oocyte nuclei. The functional impact of HSP90-HSF1 interactions was analyzed by using two strategies: direct nuclear injection of HSP90 Abs and treatment of cells with geldanamycin (GA), an agent that specifically blocks the chaperoning activity of HSP90. Both HSP90 Abs and GA delayed the disassembly of HSF1 trimers during recovery from heat shock and specifically inhibited heat-induced transcription from a chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter construct under control of the hsp70 promoter. HSP90 Abs activated HSE binding in the absence of heat shock, an effect that could be reversed by subsequent injection of purified HSP90. GA did not activate HSE binding under nonshock conditions but increased the quantity of HSE binding induced by heat shock. On the basis of these findings and the known properties of HSP90, we propose a new regulatory model in which HSP90 participates in modulating HSF1 at different points along the activation-deactivation pathway, influencing the interconversion between monomeric and trimeric conformations as well as transcriptional activation. We also put forth the hypothesis that HSP90 links HSF1 to cellular signaling molecules coordinating the stress response.
Heat and other environmental insults (stress) cause unfolding of proteins, triggering the activation of heat shock transcription factor HSF (HSF 1 in vertebrates) that, in higher eukaryotes, involves trimerization of the factor and acquisition of heat shock element (HSE) DNA-binding ability. Interaction of activated HSF1 with HSEs in promoters of genes encoding heat shock proteins (Hsps) enhances their expression. It was suggested that Hsp70 may function as the negative regulator of HSF1. In the simplest model, stress-unfolded proteins would complete with monomeric HSF1 for Hsp70 binding. This competetion would result in dissociation of an HSF1-Hsp70 complex, allowing trimerization of released HSF 1 monomers. In support of this model, we present evidence herein that 1) non-activated HSF1 forms a 1:1 complex with Hsp70, 2) both rates of heat-induced appearance of HSF1 oligomers and rates of disappearance of HSF1 heterodimers and monomers decrease when concentrations of unengaged Hsps are increased, and 3) transient overexpression of Hsp70 inhibits heat activation of HSF1.
Heat shock transcription factor (Hsf)–1 and Hsf2 are members of the heat shock factor (HSF) protein family involved in heat shock protein (hsp) gene regulation, a regulation that is critical for the ability of cells to survive exposure to stress conditions. Although the role of Hsf1 in binding and activating transcription of hsp gene promoters in response to cell stress is well established, how Hsf2 enhances stress-induced hsp expression is not understood. To gain an insight into the critical conserved features of the regulation and function of Hsf2, we have identified and characterized the Hsf2 protein from Xenopus laevis. We found that, similar to its human counterpart, Xenopus Hsf2 is sumoylated at lysine 82 and that, as it does in human Hsf2, the modification event of the small ubiquitin–related modifier 1 functions to increase the deoxyribonucleic acid–binding activity of this transcription factor in Xenopus. These results indicate that sumoylation is an evolutionarily conserved modification of Hsf2 proteins, supporting the position of this modification as a critical regulator of Hsf2 function.
Gene encoding heat shock protein (Hsps) are induced following a thermal stress thanks to the activation of heat shock transcription factor (HSF) which interacts with heat shock elements (HSE) located within the sequence of Hsp promoters. This cellular and protective response (heat shock response (HSR)) is well known and evolutionarily conserved. Nevertheless, HSR does not function in all the cells produced during the life of a multicellular organism, e.g., early mouse embryos. Taking advantage of mouse transgenic and knockout models, we investigated the roles of trans (HSF 1 and 2) and cis (HSE) regulatory elements in the control of Hsp70.1 (Hspa1b) through several developmental steps from oocytes to blastocysts. Our studies confirm that, even in absence of any stress, HSF1 regulates Hsp70.1 in oocytes and early embryos. Our data emphasize the role of maternal and paternal HSFs in the developmentally regulated expression of Hsp70.1 observed when the zygotic genome activation occurs. Furthermore, in this unstressed developmental condition, affinity and binding to HSEs might be more permissive than in the stress response. Finally, submitting blastocyst to different stress conditions, we show that HSF2 is differentially required for Hsp expression and cell survival. Taken together, our findings indicate that the role of heat shock trans and cis regulatory elements evolve along the successive steps of early embryonic development.
Hsp; HSF; HSE; Embryos; Transgenic lines; Knockout
Heat shock proteins (HSP) are essential for intracellular protein folding during stress and protect cells from denaturation and aggregation cascades that can lead to cell death. HSP genes are regulated at the transcriptional level by heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) that is activated by stress and binds to heat shock elements in HSP genes. The activation of HSF1 during heat shock involves conversion from an inert monomer to a DNA binding trimer through a series of intramolecular folding rearrangements. However, the trigger for HSF1 at the molecular level is unclear and hypotheses for this process include reversal of feedback inhibition of HSF1 by molecular chaperones and heat-induced binding to large non-coding RNAs. Heat shock also causes a profound modulation in cell signaling pathways that lead to protein kinase activation and phosphorylation of HSF1 at a number of regulatory serine residues. HSP genes themselves exist in an accessible chromatin conformation already bound to RNA polymerase II. The RNA polymerase II is paused on HSP promoters after transcribing a short RNA sequence proximal to the promoter. Activation by heat shock involves HSF1 binding to the promoter and release of the paused RNA polymerase II followed by further rounds of transcriptional initiation and elongation. HSF1 is thus involved in both initiation and elongation of HSP RNA transcripts. Recent studies indicate important roles for histone modifications on HSP genes during heat shock. Histone modification occurs rapidly after stress and may be involved in promoting nucleosome remodeling on HSP promoters and in the open reading frames of HSP genes. Understanding these processes may be key to evaluating mechanisms of deregulated HSP expression that plays a key role in neurodegeneration and cancer.
heat shock proteins; cell signaling; RNA
The heat shock response is among the most highly conserved examples of regulated gene expression, being present in all cellular organisms. Transcriptional activation of heat shock genes by increased temperature or other cellular stresses is mediated by the binding of a heat shock factor (HSF) to a conserved nucleotide sequence (the heat shock element) present in the promoter of heat-inducible genes. Despite the high degree of conservation of this response, embryonic stages of development are characterized by the absence of a heat shock response. Murine erythroleukemia (MEL) cells also lack this response, and we report here a detailed characterization of this defect for one of the most highly conserved of these genes, hsp70. Surprisingly, heat-induced transcriptional activation of this gene does not occur, despite the induction of a protein with the binding specificity of murine HSF. However, the MEL HSF differs slightly in apparent size from the HSF in 3T3 cells, which exhibit a normal heat shock response. These data suggest that activation of mammalian HSF by heat requires at least two separate steps: an alteration of binding activity followed by further modification that activates transcription. MEL cells do not respond to heat shock because they lack the ability to perform this secondary modification. These cells provide a useful system for characterizing heat shock activation in mammals.
Heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) is essential for protecting cells from protein-damaging stress associated with misfolded proteins and regulates the insulin-signaling pathway and aging. Here, we show that human HSF1 is inducibly acetylated at a critical residue that negatively regulates DNA binding activity. Activation of the deacetylase and longevity factor SIRT1 prolonged HSF1 binding to the heat shock promoter Hsp70 by maintaining HSF1 in a deacetylated, DNA–binding competent state. Conversely, down-regulation of SIRT1 accelerated the attenuation of the heat shock response (HSR) and release of HSF1 from its cognate promoter elements. These results provide a mechanistic basis for the requirement of HSF1 in the regulation of life span and establish a role for SIRT1 in protein homeostasis and the HSR.
When hookworm infective L3s infect their mammalian host, they undergo a temperature shift from that of the ambient environment to that of their endothermic host. Additionally, L3s living in the environment can be exposed to temperature extremes associated with weather fluctuations. The heat shock response (HSR) is a conserved response to heat shock and other stress that involves the expression of protective heat shock proteins (HSPs). The HSR is controlled by heat shock factor 1 (HSF-1), a conserved transcription factor that binds to a heat shock element in the promoter of HSPs, causing their expression. HSF-1 is negatively regulated in part by a HSF binding protein (HSB-1) that binds to and removes HSF-1 trimers bound to HSP gene promoters, resulting in attenuation of the HSR. Herein we describe an HSB-1 ortholog, Ac-HSB-1, from the hookworm Ancylostoma caninum. The Ac-hsb-1 cDNA encodes a 79 amino acid protein that is 71% identical to the Caenorhabditis elegans HSB-1, and is predicted to share the characteristic coiled-coil structural motif comprised of two interacting alpha helices. Recombinant Ac-HSB-1 immunoprecipitated Ce-HSF-1 expressed in mammalian cells that had been heat shocked for 1 h at 42°C, but not from cells incubated at 37°C, indicating that HSB-1 only bound to the active DNA binding form of HSF-1. Expression of Ac-hsb-1 transcripts decreased following 1 h of heat shock, but increased when L3s were incubated at 37°C for 1 h. Activation of hookworm L3s induces an five- to six-fold increase in Ac-hsb-1 expression that peaks at 12 h, coincident with L3 feeding, but that subsequently decreases to two- to three-fold above control at 24 h. Recombinant Ac-HSB-1 immunoprecipitates greater amounts of 70 and 40 kDa proteins from extracts of activated L3s than from non-activated L3s. We propose that an increase in Ac-hsb-1 levels early in activation allows feeding to resume, but that a subsequent decrease in expression permits a HSR that protects non-developing L3s at host-like temperatures. Further investigations of the HSR will clarify the role of HSB-1 and HSF-1 in hookworm infection.
Hookworms; Ancylostoma caninum; Heat shock factor; Heat shock response; Activation; Transition to parasitism
Diverse cellular and environmental stresses can activate the heat shock response, an evolutionarily conserved mechanism to protect proteins from denaturation. Stressors activate heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1), which binds to heat shock elements in the genes for heat shock proteins, leading to rapid induction of these important molecular chaperones. Both heat and noise stress are known to activate the heat shock response in the cochlea and protect it from subsequent noise trauma. However, the contribution of HSF1 to induction of heat shock proteins following noise trauma has not been investigated at the molecular level. We evaluated the role of HSF1 in the cochlea following noise stress by examining induction of heat shock proteins in Hsf1+/− control and Hsf1−/− mice. Heat stress rapidly induced expression of Hsp25, Hsp47, Hsp70.1, Hsp70.3, Hsp84, Hsp86, and Hsp110 in the cochleae of wild-type and Hsf1+/− mice, but not in Hsf1−/− mice, confirming the essential role of HSF1 in mediating the heat shock response. Exposure to broadband noise (2–20 kHz) at 106 dB SPL for 2 h produced partial hearing loss. Maximal induction of heat shock proteins occurred 4 h after the noise. In comparison to heat stress, noise stress resulted in lower induced levels of Hsp25, Hsp70.1, Hsp70.3, Hsp86, and Hsp110 in Hsf1+/− mice. Induction of these heat shock proteins was attenuated, but not completely eliminated, in Hsf1−/− mice. These same noise exposure conditions induced genes for several immediate early transcription factors and maximum induction occurred earlier than for heat shock proteins. Thus, additional signaling pathways and transcriptional regulators that are activated by noise probably contribute to induction of heat shock proteins in the cochlea.
quantitative RT-PCR; heat shock proteins; noise-induced hearing loss; ABR
Heat shock factor-1 (HSF1) is a transcriptional factor that binds to heat shock elements located on the promoter region of heat shock protein genes. The purpose of this study was to further investigate the regulation of the expression of the heat shock protein-70 (HSP-70) gene. The HSF1 gene was inserted into pCDNA3 plasmid and then transfected into human epidermoid A431 cells using the CaOP3 method. Control cells were transfected with vector alone. Expression of HSP-70, HSF1, and HSF2 genes and protein were determined. We found a significant increase in the expression of the HSF1 gene, but not HSP-70 and HSF2 genes, in the HSF1 gene-transfected cells. The amount of HSF1-heat shock element complex was significantly increased in both the nucleus and cytosol in HSF1 gene-transfected cells, indicating increased synthesis of HSF1. The amount of HSP-72 in these cells did not change. Therefore, overexpression of HSF1 protein failed to initiate transcription of the HSP-70 gene. Subsequently, we treated the cells with 1 microM PMA (a protein kinase C stimulator), and HSP-70 mRNA and protein were measured at 1 or 4 h of the treatment, respectively. The levels of both HSP-70 mRNA and HSP-72 protein were significantly increased in nontransfected and transfected cells; the levels of HSP-72 in HSF1 gene-transfected cells were greater than that found in the vector-transfected cells. The PMA-induced increase in HSP-72 protein peaked 8 h after treatment with PMA and returned to baseline levels at 72 h. This increase was blocked by a PKC inhibitor, staurosporine. After treatment with PMA, HSF1 translocated quickly from cytosol to nucleus. The results suggest that phosphorylation of newly synthesized HSF1 and possibly of other factors are necessary for the induction of HSP-72. Activation of PKC can cause phosphorylation of HSF1, which leads to an enhanced but transient increase in HSP-70 production.
The mouse HSP70.1 gene, which codes for a heat shock protein (hsp70), is highly transcribed at the onset of zygotic genome activation (ZGA). This expression, which occurs in the absence of stress, is then repressed. It has been claimed that this gene does not exhibit a stress response until the blastocyst stage. The promoter of HSP70.1 contains four heat shock element (HSE) boxes which are the binding sites of heat shock transcription factors (HSF). We have been studying the presence and localization of the mouse HSFs, mHSF1 and mHSF2, at different stages of embryo development. We show that mHSF1 is already present at the one-cell stage and concentrated in the nucleus. Moreover, by mutagenizing HSE sequences and performing competition experiments (in transgenic embryos with the HSP70.1 promoter inserted before a reporter gene), we show that, in contrast with previous findings, HSE boxes are involved in this spontaneous activation. Therefore, we suggest that HSF1 and HSE are important in this transient expression at the two-cell stage and that the absence of typical inducibility at this early stage of development results mainly from the high level of spontaneous transcription of this gene during the ZGA.
Hemin induces nonterminal differentiation of human K562 erythroleukemia cells, which is accompanied by the expression of certain erythroid cell-specific genes, such as the embryonic and fetal globins, and elevated expression of the stress genes hsp70, hsp90, and grp78/BiP. Previous studies revealed that, as during heat shock, transcriptional induction of hsp70 in hemin-treated cells is mediated by activation of heat shock transcription factor (HSF), which binds to the heat shock element (HSE). We report here that hemin activates the DNA-binding activity of HSF2, whereas heat shock induces predominantly the DNA-binding activity of a distinct factor, HSF1. This constitutes the first example of HSF2 activation in vivo. Both hemin and heat shock treatments resulted in equivalent levels of HSF-HSE complexes as analyzed in vitro by gel mobility shift assay, yet transcription of the hsp70 gene was stimulated much less by hemin-induced HSF than by heat shock-induced HSF. Genomic footprinting experiments revealed that hemin-induced HSF and heat shock-induced HSF, HSF2, and HSF1, respectively, occupy the HSE of the human hsp70 promoter in a similar yet not identical manner. We speculate that the difference in occupancy and/or in the transcriptional abilities of HSF1 and HSF2 accounts for the observed differences in the stimulation of hsp70 gene transcription.
Transcriptional activation of human heat shock protein (HSP) genes by heat shock or other stresses is regulated by the activation of a heat shock factor (HSF). Activated HSF posttranslationally acquires DNA-binding ability. We previously reported that quercetin and some other flavonoids inhibited the induction of HSPs in HeLa and COLO 320DM cells, derived from a human colon cancer, at the level of mRNA accumulation. In this study, we examined the effects of quercetin on the induction of HSP70 promoter-regulated chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) activity and on the binding of HSF to the heat shock element (HSE) by a gel mobility shift assay with extracts of COLO 320DM cells. Quercetin inhibited heat-induced CAT activity in COS-7 and COLO 320DM cells which were transfected with plasmids bearing the CAT gene under the control of the promoter region of the human HSP70 gene. Treatment with quercetin inhibited the binding of HSF to the HSE in whole-cell extracts activated in vivo by heat shock and in cytoplasmic extracts activated in vitro by elevated temperature or by urea. The binding of HSF activated in vitro by Nonidet P-40 was not suppressed by the addition of quercetin. The formation of the HSF-HSE complex was not inhibited when quercetin was added only during the binding reaction of HSF to the HSE after in vitro heat activation. Quercetin thus interacts with HSF and inhibits the induction of HSPs after heat shock through inhibition of HSF activation.
HSF2 regulates proteostasis capacity against febrile-range thermal stress, which provides temperature-dependent mechanisms of cellular adaptation to thermal stress. Furthermore, HSF2 has a strong impact on disease progression of Huntington's disease R6/2 mice, suggesting that it could be a promising therapeutic target for protein misfolding diseases.
Heat shock response is characterized by the induction of heat shock proteins (HSPs), which facilitate protein folding, and non-HSP proteins with diverse functions, including protein degradation, and is regulated by heat shock factors (HSFs). HSF1 is a master regulator of HSP expression during heat shock in mammals, as is HSF3 in avians. HSF2 plays roles in development of the brain and reproductive organs. However, the fundamental roles of HSF2 in vertebrate cells have not been identified. Here we find that vertebrate HSF2 is activated during heat shock in the physiological range. HSF2 deficiency reduces threshold for chicken HSF3 or mouse HSF1 activation, resulting in increased HSP expression during mild heat shock. HSF2-null cells are more sensitive to sustained mild heat shock than wild-type cells, associated with the accumulation of ubiquitylated misfolded proteins. Furthermore, loss of HSF2 function increases the accumulation of aggregated polyglutamine protein and shortens the lifespan of R6/2 Huntington's disease mice, partly through αB-crystallin expression. These results identify HSF2 as a major regulator of proteostasis capacity against febrile-range thermal stress and suggest that HSF2 could be a promising therapeutic target for protein-misfolding diseases.
The heat-shock response, a fundamental defense mechanism against proteotoxic stress, is regulated by a family of heat-shock transcription factors (HSF). In humans HSF1 is considered the central regulator of heat-induced transcriptional responses. The main targets for HSF1 are specific promoter elements (HSE) located upstream of heat-shock genes encoding cytoprotective heat-shock proteins (HSP) with chaperone function. In addition to its cytoprotective function, HSF1 was recently hypothesized to play a more complex role, regulating the expression of non-HSP genes; however, the non-canonical role of HSF1 is still poorly understood. Herein we report that heat-stress promotes the expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), a key regulator of inflammation controlling prostanoid and thromboxane synthesis, resulting in the production of high levels of prostaglandin-E2 in human cells. We show that heat-induced COX-2 expression is regulated at the transcriptional level via HSF1-mediated signaling and identify, by in-vitro reporter gene activity assay and deletion-mutant constructs analysis, the COX-2 heat-responsive promoter region and a new distal cis-acting HSE located at position −2495 from the transcription start site. As shown by ChIP analysis, HSF1 is recruited to the COX-2 promoter rapidly after heat treatment; by using shRNA-mediated HSF1 suppression and HSE-deletion from the COX-2 promoter, we demonstrate that HSF1 plays a central role in the transcriptional control of COX-2 by heat. Finally, COX-2 transcription is also induced at febrile temperatures in endothelial cells, suggesting that HSF1-dependent COX-2 expression could contribute to increasing blood prostaglandin levels during fever. The results identify COX-2 as a human non-classical heat-responsive gene, unveiling a new aspect of HSF1 function.
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are known to protect cells from heat, oxidative stress, and the cytotoxic effects of drugs, and thus can enhance cancer cell survival. As a result, HSPs are a newly emerging class of protein targets for chemotherapy. Among the various HSPs, the HSP70 family is the most highly conserved and prevalent. Herein we describe the development of a β-alanine rich linear polyamide that binds the GGA heat shock elements (HSEs) 3 and 4 in the HSP70 promoter in an unusual 1:1 mode and inhibits heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1) binding in vitro.
polyamide; DNA; heat shock protein; transcription factor; inhibition; binding
The heat shock response, the cellular response to protein damaging stress, is critical in maintaining proteostasis. The heat shock response is regulated by the transcription factor HSF1, which is activated upon heat shock and other stresses to induce the expression of molecular chaperones. SIRT1 has previously been shown to activate HSF1 by deacetylating it, leading to increased DNA binding ability. We have investigated how the heat shock response may be controlled by factors influencing SIRT1 activity. We found that heat shock results in an increase in the cellular NAD+/NADH ratio and an increase in recruitment of SIRT1 to the hsp70 promoter. Furthermore, we found that the SIRT1 modulators AROS and DBC1 have an impact on hsp70 transcription, HSF1 acetylation status, and HSF1 recruitment to the hsp70 promoter. Therefore, AROS and DBC1 are now two new targets available for therapeutic regulation of the heat shock response.
Plant survival requires the ability to acclimate to heat, which is involves the expression of heat-inducible genes. We found cytosolic heat shock protein (HSP) 90 serves as a negative regulator of heat shock transcription factor (HSF), which is responsible for the induction of heat-inducible genes in plant. Transient inhibition of HSP90 induces heat-inducible genes and heat acclimation in Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings. Most of upregulated genes by heat shock and HSP90 inhibitor treatments carry heat shock response element (HSE) in their promoter, which suggests that HSF participates in the response to HSP90 inhibition. A. thaliana HSP90.2 interacts with AtHsfA1d, which is one of the constitutively expressed HSFs in A. thaliana. Heat shock depleted cytosolic HSP90 activity, as shown by the activity of exogenously expressed glucocorticoid receptor (GR), which is a substrate of cytosolic HSP90. Thus, it appears that in the absence of heat shock, cytosolic HSP90 negatively regulates HsfA1. Upon heat shock, cytosolic HSP90 is transiently inactivated, and this may lead to the activation of HsfA1.
HSP90; heat shock transcription factor; heat shock; heat shock response element; heat acclimation; geldanamycin; radicicol
The heat shock response of Arabidopsis thaliana is dependent upon a complex regulatory network involving twenty-one known transcription factors and four heat shock protein families. It is known that heat shock proteins (Hsps) and transcription factors (Hsfs) are involved in cellular response to various forms of stress besides heat. However, the role of Hsps and Hsfs under cold and non-thermal stress conditions is not well understood, and it is unclear which types of stress interact least and most strongly with Hsp and Hsf response pathways. To address this issue, we have analyzed transcriptional response profiles of Arabidopsis Hsfs and Hsps to a range of abiotic and biotic stress treatments (heat, cold, osmotic stress, salt, drought, genotoxic stress, ultraviolet light, oxidative stress, wounding, and pathogen infection) in both above and below-ground plant tissues.
All stress treatments interact with Hsf and Hsp response pathways to varying extents, suggesting considerable cross-talk between heat and non-heat stress regulatory networks. In general, Hsf and Hsp expression was strongly induced by heat, cold, salt, and osmotic stress, while other types of stress exhibited family or tissue-specific response patterns. With respect to the Hsp20 protein family, for instance, large expression responses occurred under all types of stress, with striking similarity among expression response profiles. Several genes belonging to the Hsp20, Hsp70 and Hsp100 families were specifically upregulated twelve hours after wounding in root tissue, and exhibited a parallel expression response pattern during recovery from heat stress. Among all Hsf and Hsp families, large expression responses occurred under ultraviolet-B light stress in aerial tissue (shoots) but not subterranean tissue (roots).
Our findings show that Hsf and Hsp family member genes represent an interaction point between multiple stress response pathways, and therefore warrant functional analysis under conditions apart from heat shock treatment. In addition, our analysis revealed several family and tissue-specific heat shock gene expression patterns that have not been previously described. These results have implications regarding the molecular basis of cross-tolerance in plant species, and raise new questions to be pursued in future experimental studies of the Arabidopsis heat shock response network.
The heat shock transcription factor Hsf1 and the general stress transcription factors Msn2 and Msn4 (Msn2/4) are major regulators of the heat shock response in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here, we show that transcriptional activation of their target genes, including HSP104, an antistress chaperone gene, is obligatory for thermotolerance. Although Hsf1 activity might be necessary before the exposure of cells to high temperature, severe heat shock induced the binding of hyperphosphorylated Hsf1 to its target promoters. However, promoter-bound, phosphorylated Hsf1 was inactive for transcription because RNA polymerase II was inactive at high temperatures. Rather, our results suggest that Hsf1 activates the transcription of most of its target genes during the recovery period following severe heat shock. This delayed upregulation by Hsf1, which would be induced by misfolded proteins that accumulate in severely heat-shocked cells, is required for the resumption of normal cell growth. In contrast, the factors Msn2/4 were not involved in the delayed upregulation of genes and were dispensable for cell growth during the recovery period, suggesting that they play a role before the exposure to high temperature. These results show that Hsf1 and Msn2/4 act differentially before and after exposure to extreme temperatures to ensure cell survival and growth.
We have examined the effect of mild hyperthermia on the pattern of heat shock transcription factor (HSF) binding activity, heat shock protein 70 (hsp70) and hsp30 gene expression and protein denaturation in selected tissues of adult Xenopus namely, heart, hind limb muscle, eye, liver and spleen. In these studies it was found that heart tissue was the most thermally sensitive of all of the tissues examined since maintenance of adult frogs at 26°C resulted in a preferential activation of HSF binding. Thus, heart has a lowered set point temperature for HSF activation compared to the other tissues examined. At 30°C HSF activation was observed in all of the tissues examined. Heart HSF activation at 26°C was correlated with an increase in hsp70 mRNA and Hsp70 protein accumulation. At 28°C the largest amount of hsp70 and hsp30 mRNA accumulation was detected in heart and skeletal muscle compared to other tissues while hsp70 mRNA accumulation was relatively low in spleen and hsp30 mRNA accumulation was not detectable in eyes, liver and spleen. Incubation of adult frogs at 30°C resulted in enhanced hsp70 and hsp30 mRNA accumulation in all of the tissues. Finally, we have used differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) to compare the temperatures at which protein denaturation occurs in heart and liver tissue. The onset of protein denaturation (T0,) occurred approximately 8.5°C lower in heart compared to liver. Also the midpoint of the DSC profile (T½) was approximately 10.4°C lower in heart than in liver. Thus, heart proteins are generally more thermolabile than proteins in liver tissue. Taken together these data suggest that heart is more sensitive than the other tissues examined with respect to moderate increases in environmental temperature.
Eucaryotic organisms respond to elevated environmental temperatures by rapidly activating the expression of heat shock genes. The transcriptional activation of heat shock genes is mediated by a conserved upstream regulatory sequence, the heat shock element (HSE). Using an HSE-binding assay, we show that a cellular factor present in a range of vertebrate species binds specifically to the HSE. This factor is presumably the transcriptional activator of heat shock genes, heat shock factor (HSF). In vertebrates, the binding of HSF to the HSE was induced when cells were subjected to heat shock at high temperatures, even in the absence of protein synthesis. Under mild heat shock conditions, HSF binding was induced to a lesser extent, but this induction required protein synthesis, suggesting that synthesis of HSF itself, or an activating factor, is necessary for response to heat shock at intermediate temperatures. The inducibility of HSF binding in higher eucaryotes is contrasted with constitutive HSF binding activity in fungi. It appears that despite conservation of the HSE in evolution, the means by which HSF is activated to bind DNA in higher and lower eucaryotes may have diverged.
Stress-induced transcriptional regulation of the Hsps is mediated by trimerization and binding of a pre-existing heat shock transcription factor (HSF1) to a specific DNA sequence located in the 5′ region of hsp genes, known as the heat shock element. Hsp70 has been implicated in regulating the activation of the HSF and, according to cell culture models, high steady-state levels of Hsp70 are inversely correlated with HSF activation. To determine if this applies in an intact animal, muscles of the rat hindlimb which differ in the constitutive expression of Hsp70, were assessed for HSF activation following heat shock. Mobility shift gel analyses demonstrated that HSF activation was detectable in extracts from all muscles following heat shock regardless of Hsp70 content. However, muscles comprised predominantly of slow/Type I fibers (soleus) demonstrated a greater HSF activation, as well as a faster HSF activation and inactivation, that muscles comprised predominantly of fast/Type II fibers (white gastrocnemius). In addition, muscles pretreated by two heat shocks (24 h apart) demonstrated a stronger HSF activation that muscles subjected to only one heat shock. Thus, results from cell culture models demonstrating that tissue levels of Hsp70 are inversely correlated with HSG activation, may not apply to the muscles of an intact animal.
Heat shock proteins (Hsps) with chaperoning function work together with the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway to prevent the accumulation of misfolded, potentially toxic proteins, as well as to control catabolism of the bulk of cytoplasmic, cellular protein. There is evidence for the involvement of both systems in neurodegenerative disease, and a therapeutic target is the heat shock transcription factor, Hsf1, which mediates upregulation of Hsps in response to cellular stress. The mechanisms regulating expression of proteasomal proteins in mammalian cells are less well defined. To assess any direct effect of Hsf1 on expression of proteasomal subunits and activity in mammalian cells, a plasmid encoding a constitutively active form of Hsf1 (Hsf1act) was expressed in mouse embryonic fibroblasts lacking Hsf1 and in cultured human myoblasts. Plasmid encoding an inactivatible form of Hsf1 (Hsf1inact) served as control. In cultures transfected with plasmid hsf1act, robust expression of the major stress-inducible Hsp, Hsp70, occurred but not in cultures transfected with hsf1inact. No significant changes in the level of expression of representative proteasomal proteins (structural [20Sα], a nonpeptidase beta subunit [20Sβ3], or 2 regulatory subunits [19S subunit 6b, 11Sα]) or in chymotrypsin-, trypsin-, and caspaselike activities of the proteasome were measured. Thus, stress-induced or pharmacological activation of Hsf1 in mammalian cells would upregulate Hsps but not directly affect expression or activity of proteasomes.