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1.  Binding of a Small Molecule at a Protein–Protein Interface Regulates the Chaperone Activity of Hsp70–Hsp40 
ACS chemical biology  2010;5(6):611-622.
Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) is a highly conserved molecular chaperone that plays multiple roles in protein homeostasis. In these various tasks, the activity of Hsp70 is shaped by interactions with co-chaperones, such as Hsp40. The Hsp40 family of co-chaperones binds to Hsp70 through a conserved J-domain, and these factors stimulate ATPase and protein-folding activity. Using chemical screens, we identified a compound, 115-7c, which acts as an artificial co-chaperone for Hsp70. Specifically, the activities of 115-7c mirrored those of a Hsp40; the compound stimulated the ATPase and protein-folding activities of a prokaryotic Hsp70 (DnaK) and partially compensated for a Hsp40 loss-of-function mutation in yeast. Consistent with these observations, NMR and mutagenesis studies indicate that the binding site for 115-7c is adjacent to a region on DnaK that is required for J-domain-mediated stimulation. Interestingly, we found that 115-7c and the Hsp40 do not compete for binding but act in concert. Using this information, we introduced additional steric bulk to 115-7c and converted it into an inhibitor. Thus, these chemical probes either promote or inhibit chaperone functions by regulating Hsp70–Hsp40 complex assembly at a native protein–protein interface. This unexpected mechanism may provide new avenues for exploring how chaperones and co-chaperones cooperate to shape protein homeostasis.
doi:10.1021/cb1000422
PMCID: PMC2950966  PMID: 20481474
2.  Abnormal interaction of motor neuropathy-associated mutant HspB8 (Hsp22) forms with the RNA helicase Ddx20 (gemin3) 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2010;15(5):567-582.
A number of missense mutations in the two related small heat shock proteins HspB8 (Hsp22) and HspB1 (Hsp27) have been associated with the inherited motor neuron diseases (MND) distal hereditary motor neuropathy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. HspB8 and HspB1 interact with each other, suggesting that these two etiologic factors may act through a common biochemical mechanism. However, their role in neuron biology and in MND is not understood. In a yeast two-hybrid screen, we identified the DEAD box protein Ddx20 (gemin3, DP103) as interacting partner of HspB8. Using co-immunoprecipitation, chemical cross-linking, and in vivo quantitative fluorescence resonance energy transfer, we confirmed this interaction. We also show that the two disease-associated mutant HspB8 forms have abnormally increased binding to Ddx20. Ddx20 itself binds to the survival-of-motor-neurons protein (SMN protein), and mutations in the SMN1 gene cause spinal muscular atrophy, another MND and one of the most prevalent genetic causes of infant mortality. Thus, these protein interaction data have linked the three etiologic factors HspB8, HspB1, and SMN protein, and mutations in any of their genes cause the various forms of MND. Ddx20 and SMN protein are involved in spliceosome assembly and pre-mRNA processing. RNase treatment affected the interaction of the mutant HspB8 with Ddx20 suggesting RNA involvement in this interaction and a potential role of HspB8 in ribonucleoprotein processing.
doi:10.1007/s12192-010-0169-y
PMCID: PMC3006614  PMID: 20157854
Heat shock protein B8; Ddx20; Survival-of-motor-neurons protein; Protein–protein interaction; Motor neuropathy; Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease
3.  Hsp70 ATPase Modulators as Therapeutics for Alzheimer’s and other Neurodegenerative Diseases 
Neurodegenerative diseases caused by abnormal accumulation of the microtubule associated protein tau (MAPT, tau) are collectively called tauopathies. The most devastating tau related disorder is Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Molecular chaperones such as heat shock proteins (Hsp) have emerged as critical regulators of tau stability. Several studies from our group and others have shown that the chaperone network can be targeted for the development of therapeutic strategies for AD and other neurodegenerative diseases. Here we will discuss a recent paper and current work from our laboratory where we have manipulated the ATPase activity of the 70-kDa heat shock protein (Hsp70) to regulate tau turnover. A high-throughput screening assay revealed several compounds that activated or inhibited Hsp70’s ATPase activity. Inhibitors dramatically and rapidly reduced tau levels, whereas activators stabilized tau, both in cells and brain tissue. Moreover, increased levels of Hsp70 improved ATPase inhibitor efficacy, suggesting that therapies aimed at inducing Hsp70 levels followed by inhibition of its ATPase activity may be a very effective strategy to treat AD. These findings demonstrate that Hsp70 ATPase activity can be targeted to modify the pathologies of AD and other tauopathies.
PMCID: PMC2879647  PMID: 20523917
Tau; Alzheimer’s disease; Chaperones; Heat shock proteins; Therapeutic; Hsp70; ATPase
4.  A High Throughput Assay for Discovery of Small Molecules that Bind AMP-activated Protein Kinase (AMPK) 
AMPK is a conserved heterotrimeric serine-threonine kinase that regulates anabolic and catabolic pathways in eukaryotes. Its central role in cellular and whole body metabolism makes AMPK a commonly proposed therapeutic target for illnesses characterized by abnormal energy regulation, including cancer and diabetes. Many AMPK modulators, however, produce AMPK-independent effects. To identify drugs that modulate AMPK activity independent of the canonical ATP-binding pocket found throughout the kinome, we designed a robust fluorescence-based high throughput screening assay biased toward the identification of molecules that bind the regulatory region of AMPK through displacement of MANT-ADP, a fluorescent ADP analog. Automated pin tools were used to rapidly transfer small molecules to a low volume assay mixture on 384-well plates. Prior to assay validation, we completed a full assay optimization to maximize the signal-to-background and reduce variability for robust detection of small molecules displacing MANT-ADP. After validation, we screened 13,120 molecules and identified 3 positive hits that dose-dependently inhibited the protein-bound signal of MANT-ADP in the presence of both full-length AMPK and the truncated “regulatory fragment” of AMPK, which is missing the kinase active site. The average Z’-factor for the screen was 0.55 and the compound confirmation rate was 60%. Thus, this fluorescence-based assay may be paired with in vitro kinase assays and cell-based assays to help identify molecules that selectively regulate AMPK with fewer off-target effects on other kinases.
doi:10.2174/2213988501307010030
PMCID: PMC3854666  PMID: 24396733
ADP; AMPK; canonical ATP-binding site; environment-sensitive fluorophore; high throughput assay; regulatory fragment.
5.  384 Hanging Drop Arrays Give Excellent Z-factors and Allow Versatile Formation of Co-culture Spheroids 
Biotechnology and Bioengineering  2011;109(5):1293-1304.
We previously reported the development of a simple, user-friendly, and versatile 384 hanging drop array plate for 3D spheroid culture and the importance of utilizing 3D cellular models in anti-cancer drug sensitivity testing. The 384 hanging drop array plate allows for high-throughput capabilities and offers significant improvements over existing 3D spheroid culture methods. To allow for practical 3D cell-based high-throughput screening and enable broader use of the plate, we characterize the robustness of the 384 hanging drop array plate in terms of assay performance and demonstrate the versatility of the plate. We find that the 384 hanging drop array plate performance is robust in fluorescence- and colorimetric-based assays through z-factor calculations. Finally, we demonstrate different plate capabilities and applications, including: spheroid transfer and retrieval for Janus spheroid formation, sequential addition of cells for concentric layer patterning of different cell types, and culture of a wide variety of cell types.
doi:10.1002/bit.24399
PMCID: PMC3306496  PMID: 22161651
spheroid; z-factor; high-throughput; 3D; hanging drop
6.  HTRF: A Technology Tailored for Drug Discovery –A Review of Theoretical Aspects and Recent Applications 
HTRF (Homogeneous Time Resolved Fluorescence) is the most frequently used generic assay technology to measure analytes in a homogenous format, which is the ideal platform used for drug target studies in high-throughput screening (HTS). This technology combines fluorescence resonance energy transfer technology (FRET) with time-resolved measurement (TR). In TR-FRET assays, a signal is generated through fluorescent resonance energy transfer between a donor and an acceptor molecule when in close proximity to each other. Buffer and media interference is dramatically reduced by dual-wavelength detection, and the final signal is proportional to the extent of product formation. The HTRF assay is usually sensitive and robust that can be miniaturized into the 384 and 1536-well plate formats. This assay technology has been applied to many antibody-based assays including GPCR signaling (cAMP and IP-One), kinases, cytokines and biomarkers, bioprocess (antibody and protein production), as well as the assays for protein-protein, proteinpeptide, and protein-DNA/RNA interactions.
Since its introduction to the drug-screening world over ten years ago, researchers have used HTRF to expedite the study of GPCRs, kinases, new biomarkers, protein-protein interactions, and other targets of interest. HTRF has also been utilized as an alternative method for bioprocess monitoring. The first-generation HTRF technology, which uses Europium cryptate as a fluorescence donor to monitor reactions between biomolecules, was extended in 2008 through the introduction of a second-generation donor, Terbium cryptate (Tb), enhancing screening performance. Terbium cryptate possesses different photophysical properties compared to Europium, including increased quantum yield and a higher molar extinction coefficient. In addition to being compatible with the same acceptor fluorophors used with Europium, it can serve as a donor fluorophore to green-emitting fluors because it has multiple emission peaks including one at 490 nm. Moreover, all Terbium HTRF assays can be read on the same HTRF-compatible instruments as Europium HTRF assays.
Overall, HTRF is a highly sensitive, robust technology for the detection of molecular interactions in vitro and is widely used for primary and secondary screening phases of drug development. This review addresses the general principles of HTRF and its current applications in drug discovery.
doi:10.2174/1875397300903010022
PMCID: PMC2802762  PMID: 20161833
HTRF; TR-FRET; GPCR; Kinase; Biomarker; Bioprocess.
7.  An In Vitro Förster Resonance Energy Transfer-Based High-Throughput Screening Assay for Inhibitors of Protein–Protein Interactions in SUMOylation Pathway 
Abstract
Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET) is a powerful tool in biological research and has been widely used in the study of biomolecular interactions. SUMOylation is an important post-translational modification that is involved in many key biological processes. As a multi-step cascade reaction, SUMOylation involves multiple enzymes and protein–protein interactions. Here, we report the development of an in vitro FRET-based high-throughput screening (HTS) assay in SUMOylation. This assay is based on steady state and high efficiency of the fluorescent energy transfer between CyPet and YPet fused to SUMO1 and Ubc9, respectively. We optimized the assay and performed a small-scale pilot study to validate the screening platform. Carried out in 384-well plate format, our FRET-based HTS provides a powerful tool for large-scale and high-throughput applications.
doi:10.1089/adt.2011.0394
PMCID: PMC3419857  PMID: 22192309
8.  Hsp30, the integral plasma membrane heat shock protein of Saccharmyces cerevisiae, is a stress-inducible regulator of plasma membrane H+-ATPase 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  1997;2(1):12-24.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae has a single integral plasma membrane heat shock protein (Hsp). This Hsp30 is induced by several stresses, including heat shock, ethanol exposure, severe osmostress, weak organic acid exposure and glucose limitation, Plasma membrane H+-ATPase activities of heat shocked and weak acid-adapted, hsp30 mutant and wild-type cells, revealted that Hsp30 induction leads to a downregulation of the stress-stimulation of this H+-ATPase. Plasma membrane H+-ATPase activity consumes a substantial fraction of the ATP generated by the cell, a usage that will be increased by the H+-ATPase stimulation occurring with several Hsp30-inducing stresses. Hsp30 might therefore provide an energy conservation role, limiting excessive ATP consumption by plasma membrance H+-ATPase during prolonged stress exposure or glucose limitation, Consistent with the role of Hsp30 being energy conservation, Hsp30 null cultures give lower final biomass yields. They also have lower ATP levels, consistent with higher H+-ATPase activity, at the glucose exhaustion stage of batch fermentations (diauxic lag), when Hsp30 is normally induced. Loss of Hsp30 does not affect several strees tolerances but it extends the time needed for cells to adapt to growth under several stressful conditions where the maintenance of homeostasis will demand an unusually high usage of energy. hsp30 is the first yeast gene identified as both weak organic acid-inducible and assisting the adaptation to growth in the presence of these acids.
PMCID: PMC312976  PMID: 9250391
9.  Hsp90 Regulates NADPH Oxidase Activity and Is Necessary for Superoxide but Not Hydrogen Peroxide Production 
Antioxidants & Redox Signaling  2011;14(11):2107-2119.
Abstract
The goal of this study was to identify whether heat-shock protein 90 (Hsp90) regulates the production of superoxide and other reactive oxygen species from the NADPH oxidases (Nox). We found that pharmacological and genetic inhibition of Hsp90 directly reduced Nox5-derived superoxide without secondarily modifying signaling events. Coimmunoprecipitation and bioluminescence resonance energy transfer studies suggest that the C-terminus of Nox5 binds to Hsp90. Long-term Hsp90 inhibition reduced Nox5 expression and provides further evidence that Nox5 is an Hsp90 client protein. Inhibitors of Hsp90 also reduced superoxide from Nox1, Nox2 (neutrophils), and Nox3. However, Nox4, which emits only hydrogen peroxide, was unaffected by Hsp90 inhibitors. Hydrogen peroxide production from the other Nox enzymes was not affected by short-term inhibition of Hsp90, but long-term inhibition reduced production of all reactive oxygen species coincident with loss of enzyme expression. Expression of chimeric Nox enzymes consisting of N-terminal Nox1 or Nox3 and C-terminal Nox4 resulted in only hydrogen peroxide formation that was insensitive to Hsp90 inhibitors. We conclude that Hsp90 binds to the C-terminus of Noxes1–3 and 5 and is necessary for enzyme stability and superoxide production. Hsp90 does not bind to the C-terminus of Nox4 and is not required for hydrogen peroxide formation. Antioxid. Redox Signal. 14, 2107–2119.
doi:10.1089/ars.2010.3669
PMCID: PMC3085945  PMID: 21194376
10.  Development of Fluorescence Polarization Assays for the Molecular Chaperone Hsp70 Family Members: Hsp72 and DnaK 
The heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) family of chaperones play crucial roles in protein folding and have been linked to numerous diseases. We were interested in developing a generally applicable assay format for the Hsp70 family and have developed fluorescence polarization based assays for both the mammalian Hsp72 and its bacterial counterpart, DnaK. These assays are comparable in assay set-up, incubation conditions and buffer components. Both unfolded polypeptides and synthetic peptides can be utilized as tracers to detect binding although peptides meeting the minimum seven residue length for Hsp70 binders have weaken binding when modified with fluorescein presumably due to steric effects. Although we did not identify a suitable general substrate for all Hsp70 proteins, fluorescein tagged peptide substrates that gave high affinity binding were identified for both DnaK and hsp72. We would predict that these assays will be suitable for identifying both selective chemical probes of Hsp70 family members and “pan” Hsp70 inhibitors.
doi:10.2174/1875397300802010090
PMCID: PMC2803438  PMID: 20161846
11.  Identification of the Plant Compound Geraniin as a Novel Hsp90 Inhibitor 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(9):e74266.
Besides its function in normal cellular growth, the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) binds to a large number of client proteins required for promoting cancer cell growth and/or survival. In an effort to discover new small molecules able to inhibit the Hsp90 ATPase and chaperoning activities, we screened, by a surface plasmon resonance assay, a small library including different plant polyphenols. The ellagitannin geraniin, was identified as the most promising molecule, showing a binding affinity to Hsp90α similar to that of 17-(allylamino)-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17AGG). Geraniin was able to inhibit in vitro the Hsp90α ATPase activity in a dose−dependent manner, with an inhibitory efficiency comparable to that measured for 17-AAG. In addition, this compound compromised the chaperone activity of Hsp90α, monitored by the citrate synthase thermal induced aggregation assay. Geraniin decreased the viability of HeLa and Jurkat cell lines and caused an arrest in G2/M phase. We also proved that following exposure to different concentrations of geraniin, the level of expression of the client proteins c-Raf, pAkt, and EGFR was strongly down−regulated in both the cell lines. These results, along with the finding that geraniin did not exert any appreciable cytotoxicity on normal cells, encourage further studies on this compound as a promising chemical scaffold for the design of new Hsp90 inhibitors.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074266
PMCID: PMC3774728  PMID: 24066128
12.  A Nonradioactive Plate-Based Assay for Stimulators of Nonspecific DNA Nicking by HIV-1 Integrase and Other Nucleases 
Analytical biochemistry  2009;396(2):223-230.
Retroviral integrase enzymes have a nonspecific endonuclease activity that is stimulated by certain compounds, suggesting that integrase could be manipulated to damage viral DNA. To identify integrase stimulator (IS) compounds as potential antiviral agents, we have developed a nonradioactive assay that is suitable for high-throughput screening. The assay uses a 49-mer oligonucleotide that is 5'-labeled with a fluorophore, 3'-tagged with a quencher, and designed to form a hairpin that mimics radioactive double-stranded substrates in gel-based nicking assays. Reactions in 384-well plates are analyzed on a real-time PCR machine after a single heat denaturation and subsequent cooling to a point between the melting temperatures of unnicked substrate and nicked products (no cycling is required). Under these conditions, unnicked DNA reforms the hairpin and quenches fluorescence, whereas completely nicked DNA yields a large signal. The assay was linear with time, stimulator concentration, and amount of integrase, and 20% concentrations of the solvent used for many chemical libraries did not interfere with the assay. The assay had an excellent Z'-factor, and it reliably detected known IS compounds. This assay, which is adaptable to other nonspecific nucleases, will be useful for identifying additional IS compounds to develop the novel antiviral strategy of stimulating integrase to destroy retroviral DNA.
doi:10.1016/j.ab.2009.09.012
PMCID: PMC2787845  PMID: 19748478
Endonuclease; Integrase; Retrovirus; HIV; High-throughput screening
13.  Small glutamine-rich protein/viral protein U–binding protein is a novel cochaperone that affects heat shock protein 70 activity 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2002;7(3):258-268.
Molecular chaperone complexes containing heat shock protein (Hsp) 70 and Hsp90 are regulated by cochaperones, including a subclass of regulators, such as Hsp70 interacting protein (Hip), C-terminus of Hsp70 interacting protein (CHIP), and Hsp70-Hsp90 organizing factor (Hop), that contain tetratricopeptide repeats (TPRs), where Hsp70 refers to Hsp70 and its nearly identical constitutive counterpart, Hsc70, together. These proteins interact with the Hsp70 to regulate adenosine triphosphatase (ATPase) and folding activities or to generate the chaperone complex. Here we provide evidence that small glutamine-rich protein/viral protein U–binding protein (SGT/UBP) is a cochaperone that negatively regulates Hsp70. By “Far-Western” and pull-down assays, SGT/UBP was shown to interact directly with Hsp70 and weakly with Hsp90. The interaction of SGT/UBP with both these protein chaperones was mapped to 3 TPRs in SGT/UBP (amino acids 95–195) that are flanked by charged residues. Moreover, SGT/UBP caused an approximately 30% reduction in both the intrinsic ATPase activity of Hsc70 and the ability of Hsc70 to refold denatured luciferase in vitro. This negative effect of SGT/UBP on Hsc70 is similar in magnitude to that observed for the cochaperone CHIP. A role for SGT/UBP in protein folding is also supported by evidence that a yeast strain containing a deletion in the yeast homolog to SGT/UBP (ΔSGT/UBP) displays a 50-fold reduction in recovery from heat shock compared with the wild type parent. Together, these results are consistent with a regulatory role for SGT/UBP in the chaperone complex.
PMCID: PMC514826  PMID: 12482202
14.  Multiplexed Random Peptide Library and Phospho-Specific Antibodies Facilitate Human Polo-Like Kinase 1 Inhibitor Screen 
Abstract
One of the challenges to develop time-resolved fluorescence resonance energy transfer (TR-FRET) assay for serine/threonine (Ser/Thr) protein kinase is to select an optimal peptide substrate and a specific phosphor Ser/Thr antibody. This report describes a multiplexed random screen-based development of TR-FRET assay for ultra-high-throughput screening (uHTS) of small molecule inhibitors for a potent cancer drug target polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1). A screen of a diverse peptide library in a 384-well plate format identified several highly potent substrates that share the consensus motif for phosphorylation by Plk1. Their potencies were comparable to FKD peptide, a designed peptide substrate derived from well-described Plk1 substrate Cdc25C. A specific anti-phosphor Ser/Thr antibody p(S/T)F antibody that detects the phosphorylation of FKD peptide was screened out of 87 antibodies with time-resolved fluorometry technology in a 96-well plate format. Using FKD peptide and p(S/T)F antibody, we successfully developed a robust TR-FRET assay in 384-well plate format, and further miniaturized this assay to 1,536-well plate format to perform uHTS. We screened about 1.2 million compounds for Plk1 inhibitors using a Plk1 deletion mutant that only has the kinase domain and subsequently screened the same compound library using a full-length active-mutant Plk1. These uHTSs identified a number of hit compounds, and some of them had selectivity to either the deletion mutant or the full-length protein. Our results prove that a combination of random screen for substrate peptide and phospho-specific antibodies is very powerful strategy to develop TR-FRET assays for protein kinases.
doi:10.1089/adt.2009.0212
PMCID: PMC3532019  PMID: 20085455
15.  A 70-kDa molecular chaperone, DnaK, from the industrial bacterium Bacillus licheniformis: gene cloning, purification and molecular characterization of the recombinant protein 
Indian Journal of Microbiology  2009;49(2):151-160.
The heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70/DnaK) gene of Bacillus licheniformis is 1,839 bp in length encoding a polypeptide of 612 amino acid residues. The deduced amino acid sequence of the gene shares high sequence identity with other Hsp70/DnaK proteins. The characteristic domains typical for Hsps/DnaKs are also well conserved in B. licheniformis DnaK (BlDnaK). BlDnaK was overexpressed in Escherichia coli using pQE expression system and the recombinant protein was purified to homogeneity by nickel-chelate chromatography. The optimal temperature for ATPase activity of the purified BlDnaK was 40°C in the presence of 100 mM KCl. The purified BlDnaK had a Vmax of 32.5 nmol Pi/min and a KM of 439 μM. In vivo, the dnaK gene allowed an E. coli dnaK756-ts mutant to grow at 44°C, suggesting that BlDnaK should be functional for survival of host cells under environmental changes especially higher temperature. We also described the use of circular dichroism to characterize the conformation change induced by ATP binding. Binding of ATP was not accompanied by a net change in secondary structure, but ATP together with Mg2+ and K+ ions had a greater enhancement in the stability of BlDnaK at stress temperatures. Simultaneous addition of DnaJ, GrpE, and NR-peptide (NRLLLTG) synergistically stimulates the ATPase activity of BlDnaK by 11.7-fold.
doi:10.1007/s12088-009-0029-6
PMCID: PMC3450139  PMID: 23100764
Bacillus licheniformis; DnaK; ATPase activity; Escherichia coli; Circular dichroism
16.  A novel small molecule target in human airway smooth muscle for potential treatment of obstructive lung diseases: a staged high-throughput biophysical screening 
Respiratory Research  2011;12(1):8.
Background
A newly identified mechanism of smooth muscle relaxation is the interaction between the small heat shock protein 20 (HSP20) and 14-3-3 proteins. Focusing upon this class of interactions, we describe here a novel drug target screening approach for treating airflow obstruction in asthma.
Methods
Using a high-throughput fluorescence polarization (FP) assay, we screened a library of compounds that could act as small molecule modulators of HSP20 signals. We then applied two quantitative, cell-based biophysical methods to assess the functional efficacy of these molecules and rank-ordered their abilities to relax isolated human airway smooth muscle (ASM). Scaling up to the level of an intact tissue, we confirmed in a concentration-responsive manner the potency of the cell-based hit compounds.
Results
Among 58,019 compound tested, 268 compounds caused 20% or more reduction of the polarized emission in the FP assay. A small subset of these primary screen hits, belonging to two scaffolds, caused relaxation of isolated ASM cell in vitro and attenuated active force development of intact tissue ex vivo.
Conclusions
This staged biophysical screening paradigm provides proof-of-principle for high-throughput and cost-effective discovery of new small molecule therapeutic agents for obstructive lung diseases.
doi:10.1186/1465-9921-12-8
PMCID: PMC3034681  PMID: 21232113
17.  Hsp90-Dependent Assembly of the DBC2/RhoBTB2-Cullin3 E3-Ligase Complex 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(3):e90054.
The expression of the wild-type tumor-suppressor gene DBC2 (Deleted-in-Breast Cancer 2, a.k.a RhoBTB2) is suppressed in many cancers, in addition to breast cancer. In a screen for Cdc37-associated proteins, DBC2 was identified to be a potential client protein of the 90 kDa heat shock protein (Hsp90) chaperone machine. Pull down assays of ectopically expressed DBC2 confirmed that DBC2 associated with Hsp90 and its co-chaperone components in reticulocyte lysate and MCF7 cells. Similar to other atypical Rho GTPases, DBC2 was found to have retained the capacity to bind GTP. The ability of DBC2 to bind GTP was modulated by the Hsp90 ATPase cycle, as demonstrated through the use of the Hsp90 chemical inhibitors, geldanamycin and molybdate. The binding of full length DBC2 to GTP was suppressed in the presence of geldanamycin, while it was enhanced in the presence of molybdate. Furthermore, assembly of DBC2-Cullin3-COP9 E3 ligase complexes was Hsp90-dependent. The data suggest a new paradigm for Hsp90-modulated assembly of a Cul3/DBC2 E3 ubiquitin ligase complex that may extend to other E3 ligase complexes.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0090054
PMCID: PMC3946479  PMID: 24608665
18.  Stimuli that induce a yeast heat shock gene fused to beta-galactosidase. 
Molecular and Cellular Biology  1984;4(12):2573-2579.
Saccharomyces cerevisiae contain a multigene family related to the Drosophila heat shock gene hsp70. Two members of this family, YG100 and YG101, have been previously characterized (Ingolia et al., Mol. Cell. Biol. 2:1388-1398, 1982), and only YG100 was found to have elevated levels of transcription after heat shock. The yeast hsp70 genes contained on YG100 and YG101 were truncated and fused to the Escherichia coli lacZ gene contained on pMC1587 (Casadaban et al., Methods Enzymol. 100:283-308, 1983). The resulting plasmids directed synthesis of the beta-galactosidase gene as measured by in vitro enzyme assays and by colorimetric assays on plates. The expression level from the YG101 gene was constant under all the conditions tested, whereas expression driven by the YG100 gene could be induced over 50-fold. Other stimuli besides heat, including recovery from anoxia and high cell density, were found to strongly induce YG100 gene expression. Most physical and chemical stimuli tested, including UV irradiation, zymolyase treatment, and ethanol, did not stimulate expression of this heat shock gene.
PMCID: PMC369260  PMID: 6098811
19.  Improved Green Fluorescent Protein Reporter Gene-Based Microplate Screening for Antituberculosis Compounds by Utilizing an Acetamidase Promoter 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  2003;47(12):3682-3687.
The green fluorescent protein (GFP) gene offers many advantages as a viability reporter for high-throughput antimicrobial drug screening. However, screening for antituberculosis compounds by using GFP driven by the heat shock promoter, hsp60, has been of limited utility due to the low signal-to-noise ratio. Therefore, an alternative promoter was evaluated for its enhanced fluorescence during microplate-based culture and its response to 18 established antimicrobial agents by using a green fluorescent protein microplate assay (GFPMA). Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains H37Rv, H37Ra, and Erdman were transformed with pFPCA1, which contains a red-shifted gfp gene driven by the acetamidase promoter of M. smegmatis mc2155. The pFPCA1 transformants achieved higher levels of GFP-mediated fluorescence than those carrying the hsp60 construct, with signal-to-noise ratios of 20.6 to 27.8 and 3.8 to 4.5, respectively. The MICs of 18 established antimicrobial agents for all strains carrying pFPCA1 in the GFPMA were within 1 to 2 twofold dilutions of those determined by either the fluorometric or the visual microplate Alamar Blue assay (MABA). No significant differences in MICs were observed between wild-type and pFPCA1 transformants by MABA. The optimized GFPMA is sufficiently simple, robust, and inexpensive (no reagent costs) to be used for routine high-throughput screening for antituberculosis compounds.
doi:10.1128/AAC.47.12.3682-3687.2003
PMCID: PMC296217  PMID: 14638465
20.  Regulation of the dnaK operon of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) is governed by HspR, an autoregulatory repressor protein. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1997;179(19):5999-6004.
The dnaK operon of Streptomyces coelicolor contains four genes (5'-dnaK-grpE-dnaJ-hspR). The fourth gene encodes a novel heat shock protein, HspR, which appears so far to be unique to the high-G+C actinomycete group of bacteria. HspR binds with high specificity to three inverted repeat sequences in the promoter region of the S. coelicolor dnaK operon, strongly suggesting a direct role for HspR in heat shock gene regulation. Here we present genetic and biochemical evidence that HspR is the repressor of the dnaK operon. Disruption of hspR leads to high-level constitutive transcription of the dnaK operon. Parallel transcriptional analyses of groESL1 and groEL2 expression demonstrated that heat shock regulation of the groE genes was essentially unaffected in an hspR null mutant, although the basal (uninduced) level of groEL2 transcription was slightly elevated compared with the wild type. The results of HspR titration experiments, where the dnaK operon promoter region was cloned at ca. 50 copies per chromosome, were consistent with the prediction that HspR functions as a negative autoregulator. His-tagged HspR, overproduced and purified from Escherichia coli, was shown to repress transcription from the dnaK operon promoter in vitro, providing additional evidence for the proposal that HspR directly regulates transcription of the dnaK operon. These studies indicate that there are at least two transcriptional mechanisms for controlling heat shock genes in S. coelicolor--one controlling the dnaK operon and another controlling the groE genes.
PMCID: PMC179499  PMID: 9324243
21.  Combination of Two Regulatory Elements in the Tetrahymena thermophila HSP70-1 Gene Controls Heat Shock Activation▿  
Eukaryotic Cell  2007;7(2):379-386.
The induction of heat shock genes (HSPs) is thought to be primarily regulated by heat shock transcription factors (HSFs), which bind target sequences on HSP promoters, called heat shock elements (HSEs). In this study, we investigated the 5′ untranslated regions of the Tetrahymena thermophila HSP70-1 gene, and we found, in addition to the canonical and divergent HSEs, multiple sets of GATA elements that have not been reported previously in protozoa. By means of in vivo analysis of a green fluorescent protein reporter transgene driven by the HSP70-1 promoter, we demonstrate that HSEs do not represent the minimal regulatory elements for heat shock induction, since the HSP70-1 is tightly regulated by both HSE and GATA elements. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay also showed that HSFs are constitutively bound to the HSEs, whereas GATA elements are engaged only after heat shock. This is the first demonstration by in vivo analysis of functional HSE and GATA elements in protozoa. Furthermore, we provide evidence of a functional link between HSE and GATA elements in the activation of the heat shock response.
doi:10.1128/EC.00221-07
PMCID: PMC2238171  PMID: 18055912
22.  Colorimetric High-Throughput Screen for Detection of Heme Crystallization Inhibitors▿  
Malaria infects 500 million people annually, a number that is likely to rise as drug resistance to currently used antimalarials increases. During its intraerythrocytic stage, the causative parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, metabolizes hemoglobin and releases toxic heme, which is neutralized by a parasite-specific crystallization mechanism to form hemozoin. Evidence suggests that chloroquine, the most successful antimalarial agent in history, acts by disrupting the formation of hemozoin. Here we describe the development of a 384-well microtiter plate screen to detect small molecules that can also disrupt heme crystallization. This assay, which is based on a colorimetric assay developed by Ncokazi and Egan (K. K. Ncokazi and T. J. Egan, Anal. Biochem. 338:306-319, 2005), requires no parasites or parasite-derived reagents and no radioactive materials and is suitable for a high-throughput screening platform. The assay's reproducibility and large dynamic range are reflected by a Z factor of 0.74. A pilot screen of 16,000 small molecules belonging to diverse structural classes was conducted. The results of the target-based assay were compared with a whole-parasite viability assay of the same small molecules to identify small molecules active in both assays.
doi:10.1128/AAC.01466-08
PMCID: PMC2687197  PMID: 19307367
23.  Heat Shock Protein 70 Inhibits Apoptosis in Cancer Cells Through Simultaneous and Independent Mechanisms 
Gastroenterology  2009;136(5):1772-1782.
Background & Aims
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are highly conserved and serve a multitude of functions that mediate cell survival. HSP70, the only inducible form of the 70-kilodalton subfamily of HSPs, is overexpressed in pancreatic cancer cells and has been shown to inhibit caspase-dependent apoptosis. We aimed to elucidate the mechanism by which HSP70 inhibits apoptosis in cancer cells.
Methods
HSP70 expression was down-regulated in cultured pancreatic cancer cells by exposure to quercetin, triptolide, or short interfering RNAs. Intracellular Ca2+, cytosolic cathepsin B activity, caspase-3 activity, cell viability, and lysosome integrity were measured using colorimetric assays. Immunofluorescence assays were used to localize cathepsin B and Lamp2. BAPTA-AM was used to chelate intracellular Ca2+.
Results
Inhibition of HSP70 increased intracellular Ca2+ levels in pancreatic and colon cancer cell lines and led to loss of lysosome integrity in pancreatic cancer cells. The release of intracellular Ca2+ and lysosomal enzymes activated caspase-dependent apoptosis independently and simultaneously.
Conclusions
HSP70 inhibits apoptosis in cancer cells by 2 mechanisms: attenuation of cytosolic calcium and stabilization of lysosomes. HSP70-mediated cell survival might occur in other types of cancer cells.
doi:10.1053/j.gastro.2009.01.070
PMCID: PMC2896387  PMID: 19208367
24.  Heat shock protein synthesis during development in Caulobacter crescentus. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1986;168(2):923-930.
Caulobacter crescentus cells respond to a sudden increase in temperature by transiently inducing the synthesis of several polypeptides. Two of the proteins induced, Hsp62 and Hsp70, were shown to be analogous to the heat shock proteins of Escherichia coli, GroEL and DnaK, respectively, by immunological cross-reactivity with antibodies raised against the E. coli proteins. Two-dimensional gel electrophoretic resolution of extracts of cells labeled with [35S]methionine during heat shock led to the identification of 20 distinct Hsps in C. crescentus which are coordinately expressed, in response to heat, at the various stages of the cell division cycle. Thus, a developmental control does not seem to be superimposed on the transient activation of the heat shock genes. Nonetheless, under normal temperature conditions, four Hsps (Hsp70, Hsp62, Hsp24b, and Hsp23a) were shown to be synthesized, and their synthesis was cell cycle regulated.
Images
PMCID: PMC213572  PMID: 3782032
25.  Heat Shock Protein 70 Acts as a Potential Biomarker for Early Diagnosis of Heart Failure 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e67964.
Early identification for heart failure (HF) may be useful for disease modifying treatment in order to reduce heart disease progression or even to reverse it. In our previous studies, we have revealed a group of heat shock proteins (HSPs) which might be related to neonatal rat cardiomyocyte hypertrophy by proteomic approach. Here, we confirm that HSPs, including HSP27 and HSP70, altered in the early stage of cardiac remodeling in vivo animal model. Furthermore, plasma concentrations of those HSPs and their potential screening value were evaluated at different stages in 222 patient subjects. Plasma HSP27, HSP70 and HSP90 were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results indicate that HSP70 was positively correlated to the severity (progression) of HF (r = 0.456, p<0.001). The area under the rate of change (ROC) curve was 0.601 (p = 0.017) in patients with stage B HF and 0.835 (p<0.001) in those with stage C HF. However, HSP27 and HSP90 did not display significant changes in any stage of HF in this study. Taken together, plasma concentrations of HSP70 elevated with the progression of HF and might act as a potential screening biomarker for early diagnosis of HF.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067964
PMCID: PMC3706597  PMID: 23874478

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