Heat shock proteins (HSPs) have been linked to the therapy of both cancer and inflammatory diseases, approaches that utilize contrasting immune properties of these proteins. It would appear that HSP family members Hsp60 and Hsp70, whether from external sources or induced locally during inflammation, can be processed by antigen-presenting cells and that HSP-derived epitopes then activate regulatory T cells and suppress inflammatory diseases. These effects also extend to the HSP-rich environments of cancer cells where elevated HSP concentrations may participate in the immunosuppressive tumor milieu. However, HSPs can also be important mediators of tumor immunity. Due to their molecular chaperone properties, some HSPs can bind tumor-specific peptides and deliver them deep into the antigen-processing pathways of antigen-presenting cells (APCs). In this context, HSP-based vaccines can activate tumor-specific immunity, trigger the proliferation and CTL capabilities of cancer-specific CD8+ T cells, and inhibit tumor growth. Further advances in HSP-based anticancer immunotherapy appear to involve improving the properties of the molecular chaperone vaccines by enhancing their antigen-binding properties and combating the immunosuppressive tumor milieu to permit programming of active CTL capable of penetrating the tumor milieu and specifically targeting tumor cells.
Heat shock protein (HSP) levels are elevated in breast cancer and are molecular targets for novel therapies. HSPs were first observed as proteins induced in massive amounts in normal cells exposed to stresses that lead to protein denaturation. Their expanded expression in mammary carcinoma appears to be largely due to the proliferation of malfolded mutant proteins and overexpressed oncoproteins that trigger transcription of HSP genes. HSPs play major roles in malignant transformation and progression mediated through their intrinsic molecular chaperone properties. These permit the emergence of new malignant traits through the facilitated accumulation of altered oncoproteins. The elevation of HSP concentrations in mammary carcinoma is at least partially dependent on heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1), a protein that responds to unfolded proteins and leads to HSP transcription. HSF1 activation has additional downstream activities, crucial for emergence of the breast cancer phenotype and these include activated cell signaling, HSP-mediated ability to evade apoptosis and senescence and an HSF1-dependent bias in transcriptional activity towards a metastatic phenotype. The HSPs are currently being targeted in breast cancer therapy and effective drugs for Hsp90 have been synthesized and evaluated in clinical trial. Mammary carcinoma cells also contain abundant quantities of HSP-tumor antigen complexes and these complexes are being used to develop effective tumor vaccine approaches that provide personalized therapy for each individual’s cancer.
Heat shock protein (HSP)-based anticancer vaccines have undergone successful preclinical testing and are now entering clinical trial. Questions still remain, however regarding the immunological properties of HSPs. It is now accepted that many of the HSPs participate in tumor immunity, at least in part by chaperoning tumor antigenic peptides, introducing them into antigen presenting cells such as dendritic cells (DC) that display the antigens on MHC class I molecules on the cell surface and stimulate cytotoxic lymphocytes (CTL). However, in order for activated CD8+ T cells to function as effective CTL and kill tumor cells, additional signals must be induced to obtain a sturdy CTL response. These include the expression of co-stimulatory molecules on the DC surface and inflammatory events that can induce immunogenic cytokine cascades. That such events occur is indicated by the ability of Hsp70 vaccines to induce antitumor immunity and overcome tolerance to tumor antigens such as mucin1. Secondary activation of CTL can be induced by inflammatory signaling through Toll-like receptors and/or by interaction of antigen-activated T helper cells with the APC. We will discuss the role of the inflammatory properties of HSPs in tumor immunity and the potential role of HSPs in activating T helper cells and DC licensing.
heat shock protein; vaccine; inflammation; antigen presentation
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are molecular chaperones that bind tumor antigens and mediate their uptake into antigen presenting cells. HSP–antigen complexes are then directed toward either the MHC class I pathway through antigen cross presentation or the conventional class II pathway, leading to activation of T cell subsets. Uptake of HSP-chaperoned polypeptides can involve both receptor-mediated and receptor-independent routes, and mechanisms of antigen sorting between the Class I and II pathways after uptake are currently under investigation. The processes involved in internalization of HSP–antigen complexes differ somewhat from the mechanisms previously determined for (unchaperoned) particulate and free soluble antigens. A number of studies show that HSP-facilitated antigen cross presentation requires uptake of the complexes by scavenger receptors (SR) followed by processing in the proteasome, and loading onto MHC class I molecules. In this review we have examined the roles of HSPs and SR in antigen uptake, sorting, processing, cell signaling, and activation of innate and adaptive immunity.
heat shock proteins; antigen cross presentation; CTL response; scavenger receptor; antigen presenting cells; soluble vs. particulate antigen; anti-cancer vaccine; tumor immunity
Heat shock proteins (HSP) and heat shock factor 1 (HSF1), key factors in the heat shock response (HSR) have been implicated in the etiology of breast cancer. At least two members of the HSP family, Hsp27 and Hsp70 undergo significant increases in cellular concentration during the transformation of mammary cells. These changes result in HSP-mediated inhibition of tumor cell inactivation through blockade of the apoptosis and replicative senescence pathways. The increases in HSP thus mediate two of the common hallmarks of cancer and favor cell birth over cell death. In addition, Hsp90 plays a role in facilitating transformation by stabilizing the mutated and overexpressed oncoproteins found in breast tumors, and permitting the activation of growth stimulatory and transforming pathways in the absence of growth factors. HSF1 appears to play a similar role as a facilitator of transformation in mammary carcinoma. Induction of some facets of the HSR in breast cancer cells therefore leads to growth stimulation and inhibits cell death. Pharmacological targeting of HSP and HSF1 is therefore indicated and in the case of Hsp90, inhibitory drugs are undergoing clinical trial for treatment of breast carcinoma and other cancers.
heat; shock; protein; HSF1; breast; cancer
Aging can be thought of as the collision between destructive processes that act on cells and organs over the lifetime and the responses that promote homeostasis, vitality and longevity. However, the precise mechanisms that determine the rates of aging in organisms are not known.
Macromolecules such as proteins are continuously exposed to potential damaging agents that can cause loss of molecular function and depletion of cell populations over the lifetime of essential organs. One of the key homeostatic responses involved in maintaining longevity is the induction of heat shock proteins (HSPs), a conserved reaction to damaged intracellular proteins. We aim to discuss how the interplay between protein damage and its repair or removal from the cell may influence longevity and aging.
We have reviewed experiments carried out in mammalian and non-mammalian organisms on molecular chaperones and the transcription factor (heat shock factor 1, HSF1) responsible for their expression. We have discussed mechanisms through which these molecules are regulated in cells, respond to stimuli that enhance longevity and become impaired during aging.
The transcription factor HSF1 initiates the prolific induction of HSP when cells are exposed to protein damage. HSPs are molecular chaperones that protect the proteome by folding denatured polypeptides and promoting the degradation of severely damaged proteins. Activation of HSF1 is coupled functionally to fundamental pathways of longevity and orchestrates the evasion of aging through HSP induction and antagonism of protein aggregation. In addition to mediating protein quality control, some HSPs such as Hsp27 and Hsp70 directly protect cells against damage-induced entry into death pathways. However, the heat shock response declines in potency over the lifetime, and enfeeblement of the response contributes to aging by permitting the emergence of protein aggregation diseases, reduction in cellular vigor and decreased longevity.
Molecular chaperones play an important role in the deterrence of protein damage during aging and their expression is required for longevity. Chemical stimulation of HSP synthesis might therefore be a significant strategy in future design of antiaging pharmaceuticals.
Heat shock protein; Aging; Aggregation; Molecular chaperone; CHIP; Ubiquitin; Proteasome; Heat shock factor 1
Cdc37 is a molecular chaperone that physically stabilizes the catalytic domains found in protein kinases and is therefore a wide-spectrum regulator of protein phosphorylation. It is also an overexpressed oncogene that mediates carcinogenesis by stabilizing the compromised structures of mutant and/or overexpressed oncogenic kinases. Recent work shows that such dependency of malignant cells on elevated Cdc37 expression is a vulnerability that can be targeted in cancer by agents that deplete or inhibit Cdc37. Cdc37 is thus a candidate for broad-spectrum molecular cancer therapy.
Aging can be thought of as the collision between destructive processes that act on cells and organs over the lifetime and the responses that promote homeostasis, vitality and longevity. However the precise mechanism that determine the rates of aging in organisms are not known.
Macromolecules such as proteins are continuously exposed to potential damaging agents that can cause loss of molecular function and depletion of cell populations over the lifetime of essential organs. One of the key homeostatic responses involved in maintaining longevity is the induction of heat shock proteins (HSP), a conserved reaction to damaged intracellular proteins. We aim to discuss how the interplay between protein damage and its repair or removal from the cell may influence longevity and aging.
We have reviewed experiments carried out in mammalian and non-mammalian organisms on molecular chaperones and the transcription factor HSF1 responsible for their expression. We have discussed mechanisms through which these molecules are regulated in cells, respond to stimuli that enhance longevity and become impaired during aging.
The transcription factor HSF1 initiates the prolific induction of heat shock proteins when cells are exposed to protein damage. HSP are molecular chaperones that protect the proteome by folding denatured polypeptides and promoting the degradation of severely damaged proteins. Activation of HSF1 is coupled functionally to fundamental pathways of longevity and orchestrates the evasion of aging through HSP induction and antagonism of protein aggregation. In addition to mediating protein quality control, Hsp27 and Hsp70 directly protect cells against damage-induced entry into death pathways. However, the heat shock response declines in potency over the lifetime, and enfeeblement of the response contributes to aging by permitting the emergence of protein aggregation diseases, reduction in cellular vigor and decreased longevity.
Molecular chaperones play an important role in the deterrence of protein damage during aging and their expression is required for longevity. Chemical stimulation of HSP synthesis might therefore be a significant strategy in future design of anti-aging pharmaceuticals.
heat shock protein; aging; aggregation; molecular chaperone; CHIP; ubiquitin; proteasome; heat shock factor 1
Hsp70; heat shock; lysosome; ABC transporter
Heat shock proteins (Hsps) are overexpressed in a wide range of human cancers and are implicated in tumor cell proliferation, differentiation, invasion, metastasis, death, and recognition by the immune system. We review the current status of the role of Hsp expression in cancer with special emphasis on the clinical setting. Although Hsp levels are not informative at the diagnostic level, they are useful biomarkers for carcinogenesis in some tissues and signal the degree of differentiation and the aggressiveness of some cancers. In addition, the circulating levels of Hsp and anti-Hsp antibodies in cancer patients may be useful in tumor diagnosis. Furthermore, several Hsp are implicated with the prognosis of specific cancers, most notably Hsp27, whose expression is associated with poor prognosis in gastric, liver, and prostate carcinoma, and osteosarcomas, and Hsp70, which is correlated with poor prognosis in breast, endometrial, uterine cervical, and bladder carcinomas. Increased Hsp expression may also predict the response to some anticancer treatments. For example, Hsp27 and Hsp70 are implicated in resistance to chemotherapy in breast cancer, Hsp27 predicts a poor response to chemotherapy in leukemia patients, whereas Hsp70 expression predicts a better response to chemotherapy in osteosarcomas. Implication of Hsp in tumor progression and response to therapy has led to its successful targeting in therapy by 2 main strategies, including: (1) pharmacological modification of Hsp expression or molecular chaperone activity and (2) use of Hsps in anticancer vaccines, exploiting their ability to act as immunological adjuvants. In conclusion, the present times are of importance for the field of Hsps in cancer, with great contributions to both basic and clinical cancer research.
Heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) is a molecular chaperone involved in protein folding and resistance to the deleterious effects of stress. Here we show that HSP70 suppresses transcription of c-fos, an early response gene that is a key component of the ubiquitous AP-1 transcription factor complex. HSP70 repressed Ras-induced c-fos transcription only in the presence of functional heat shock factor1 (HSF1). This suggests that HSP70 functions as a corepressor with HSF1 to inhibit c-fos gene transcription. Therefore, besides its known function in the stress response, HSP70 also has the property of a corepressor and combines with HSF1 to antagonize Fos expression and may thus impact multiple aspects of cell regulation.
Heat shock transcription factor 1(HSF1) activation is a multistep process. The conversion of a latent cytoplasmic form to a nuclear, DNA binding state appears to be activated by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. In previous studies, we showed that HSF 1 is phosphorylated by the protein kinase RSK2 in vitro and that this effect is inhibited by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs at the concentration that leads to the activation of HSF1 in vivo (Stevenson et al 1999). In the present study, using cells from a patient with Coffin-Lowry syndrome (deficient in RSK2), we demonstrate that RSK2 slightly represses activation of HSF1 in vivo at 37°C. In Coffin-Lowry syndrome cells, HSF1-HSE DNA binding activity after treatment with sodium salicylate was slightly higher than that in untreated cells, indicating that although RSK2 is involved in HSF1 regulation, it is not the unique protein kinase that suppresses HSF1-HSE binding activity at 37°C. However, heat shock treatment resulted in significantly higher HSF1-HSE binding activity in Coffin-Lowry syndrome cells as compared with normal controls, suggesting that RSK2 represses HSF1-HSE binding activity during heat shock.
We recently elucidated a novel function for the 70-kDa heat shock protein (HSP70) as a chaperone and a cytokine, a chaperokine in human monocytes. Here we show that peptide-bearing and peptide-negative HSP70 preparations isolated from EMT6 mammary adenocarcinoma cells (EMT6-HSP70) act as chaperokines when admixed with murine splenocytes. EMT6-HSP70 bound with high affinity to the surface of splenocytes recovered from naive BALB/c mice. The [Ca2+]i inhibitor BAPTA dose dependently inhibited HSP70- but not LPS-induced NF-κB activity and subsequent augmentation of proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6 production. Taken together, these results suggest that presence of peptide in the HSP70 preparation is not required for spontaneous activation of cells of the innate immune system.
Sarcopenia is a geriatric syndrome in which there is a decrease of muscle mass and strength with aging. In age-related loss of muscle strength, there are numerous observations supporting the assertion that neural factors mediate muscle strength. A possible contributing cause may be that aging changes systemic extracellular heat shock protein (eHsp)72 activity. The present study was designed to assess the plasma levels of eHsp72 in elderly people and to investigate its potential interaction with components of sarcopenia. A total of 665 men and women participated in an official medical health examination and an integrated health examination, including psychological and physical fitness tests. Blood samples were assayed for levels of plasma Hsp72, serum C-reactive protein, interleukin 6, tumor necrosis factor α, and regular biomedical parameters. We found that higher Hsp72 in plasma is associated with lower muscle mass, weaker grip strength, and slower walking speed, and may be a potential biomarker of sarcopenia in elderly people. This finding was supported by other results in the present study: (1) older age and shrinking body and lower hemoglobin levels, all of which characterize sarcopenia, were related to higher eHsp72 tertiles and (2) the ORs of the highest tertile of eHsp72 for the lowest tertiles of muscle mass, grip strength, and walking speed were 2.7, 2.6, and 1.8, respectively. These ORs were independent of age, sex, and the incidence of related diseases. Our results would reveal that eHsp72 in plasma is linked to sarcopenia factors and is a potential biomarker or predictor of sarcopenia.
Sarcopenia; Geriatric syndrome; Biomarkers; Extracellular Hsp; Skeletal muscle; Grip strength
Molecular chaperone–peptide complexes extracted from tumors (heat shock protein [HSP] vaccines) have been intensively studied in the preceding two decades, proving to be safe and effective in treating a number of malignant diseases. They offer personalized therapy and target a cross-section of antigens expressed in patients' tumors. Future advances may rely on understanding the molecular underpinnings of this approach to immunotherapy. One property common to HSP vaccines is the ability to stimulate antigen uptake by scavenger receptors on the antigen-presenting cell surface and trigger T-lymphocyte activation. HSPs can also induce signaling through Toll-Like receptors in a range of immune cells and this may mediate the effectiveness of vaccines.
antigen presentation; dendritic cell; heat shock protein; molecular chaperone; T lymphocyte; Toll-like receptor; vaccine
The target of rapamycin (TOR) is a high molecular weight protein kinase that regulates many processes in cells in response to mitogens and variations in nutrient availability. Here we have shown that mTOR in human tissue culture cells plays a key role in responses to proteotoxic stress and that reduction in mTOR levels by RNA interference leads to increase sensitivity to heat shock. This effect was accompanied by a drastic reduction in ability to synthesize heat shock proteins (HSP), including Hsp70, Hsp90 and Hsp110. As HSP transcription is regulated by heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1), we examined whether mTOR could directly phosphorylate this factor. Indeed, we determined that mTOR could directly phosphorylate HSF1 on serine 326, a key residue in transcriptional activation. HSF1 was phosphorylated on S326 immediately after heat shock and was triggered by other cell stressors including proteasome inhibitors and sodium arsenite. Null mutation of S326 to alanine led to loss of ability to activate an HSF1-regulated promoter-reporter construct, indicating a direct role for mTOR and S326 in transcriptional regulation of HSP genes during stress. As mTOR is known to exist in at least two intracellular complexes, mTORC1 and mTOR2 we examined which complex might interact with HSF1. Indeed mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin prevented HSF1-S326 phosphorylation, suggesting that this complex is involved in HSF1 regulation in stress. Our experiments therefore suggest a key role for mTORC1 in transcriptional responses to proteotoxic stress.
It is still uncertain whether metastasis is predominantly an early or late event in tumor progression. The detection of early metastases and cells responsible for the dissemination may therefore have significant clinical implications.
Lung dissemination and/or metastasis were investigated in mice carrying the polyomavirus middle-T oncogene (PyMT) during different stages of mammary tumorigenesis using the colony forming assay. Immunocytochemical or immunohistochemical staining was used to identify subpopulations of cells responsible for lung dissemination and metastasis. Histological examination was used to show primary and metastatic tumors. The tumor-initiating and metastatic capacity of cells expressing stem cell markers was assessed in syngeneic wild-type (WT) mice whose mammary fat pads were injected with these cells.
Metastatic mammary epithelial cells were detected in the lungs of mice carrying the PyMT oncogene (MMT mice). These cells were observed early in breast tumorigenesis when the mammary tree appeared by histological inspection to be normal (or at a premalignant stage), suggesting the possession of disseminating and metastatic capacity even before full malignant transformation. Some of the disseminated cells and lung metastases displayed surface stem cell markers. These findings suggest that stem cells from apparently precancerous primary lesions could be a source of metastasis. Indeed, injection of lung tissue cells from MMT mice into syngeneic WT mice resulted in the formation of mammary tumors. These tumors resembled their parent mammary tumors in the MMT donors as well as grafted tumors derived from mammary tumor cells. Furthermore, when we injected lung tissue cells from GFP MMT mice into the fat pads of recipient WT mice, disseminated or metastatic GFP-expressing cells were detected in the lungs, lymph nodes and blood of the recipient WT mice. We finally identified a subpopulation of mammary epithelial/tumor cells expressing CD44 and Sca1 that was largely responsible for dissemination and metastasis in MMT mice.
The tumorigenic and metastatic potential of a subpopulation of mammary epithelial/tumor cells in MMT mice is endowed relatively early in mammary neoplasms and suggests a potential role for cancer stem cell sub-populations in metastasis.
Heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) regulates one of the major pathways of protein quality control and is essential for deterrence of protein-folding disorders, particularly in neuronal cells. However, HSF1 activity declines with age, a change that may open the door to progression of neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington's disease. We have investigated mechanisms of HSF1 regulation that may become compromised with age. HSF1 binds stably to the catalytic domain of protein kinase A (PKAcα) and becomes phosphorylated on at least one regulatory serine residue (S320). We show here that PKA is essential for effective transcription of HSP genes by HSF1. PKA triggers a cascade involving HSF1 binding to the histone acetylase p300 and positive translation elongation factor 1 (p-TEFb) and phosphorylation of the c-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II, a key mechanism in the downstream steps of HSF1-mediated transcription. This cascade appears to play a key role in protein quality control in neuronal cells expressing aggregation-prone proteins with long poly-glutamine (poly-Q) tracts. Such proteins formed inclusion bodies that could be resolved by HSF1 activation during heat shock. Resolution of the inclusions was inhibited by knockdown of HSF1, PKAcα, or the pTEFb component CDK9, indicating a key role for the HSF1-PKA cascade in protein quality control.
We have a long term interest in the connectivity between autoimmunity and tumor rejection. However, outside of the melanocyte/melanoma paradigm, little is known about whether autoimmune responses to normal tissue can induce rejection of tumors of the same histological type. Here, we induced direct, pathogen-like cytotoxicity to the normal pancreas in association with the immune adjuvant hsp70. In sharp contrast to our studies with a similar approach for the treatment of prostate cancer, inflammatory killing of the normal pancreas induced a Th-1-like, anti-self response to pancreatic antigens which was rapidly suppressed by a concomitant suppressive regulatory T cell (Treg) response. Interestingly, even when Treg cells were depleted, the Th-1-like response was insufficient to induce significant ongoing autoimmunity. However, the Th-1-like response to antigens expressed in the pancreas at the time of damage was sufficient to induce rejection of tumors expressing either a foreign (ova) antigen, or fully syngeneic tumor antigens (on PancO2 tumor cells), provided that Treg were depleted prior to inflammatory killing of the normal pancreas. Taken together, these data indicate that profound differences exist between the immunoprotective mechanisms in place between different tissues (pancreas and prostate) in their response to pathogen-like damage. Moreover, they also show that, although multiple layers of immunological safeguards are in place to prevent the development of severe autoimmune consequences in the pancreas (in contrast to the prostate), tumor rejection responses can still be de-coupled from pathological autoimmune responses in vivo, which may provide novel insights into the immunotherapeutic treatment of pancreatic cancer.
hsp70; Fusogenic membrane glycoproteins; immunotherapy; tumor antigens; autoimmunity
In previous studies we have shown that HSP70-peptide complexes (HSP70.PC) derived from the fusion of dendritic cells (DC) to tumor cells (HSP70.PC-F) possess superior properties compared to HSP70.PC from tumor cells. HSP70.PC-F are more effective in stimulation of DC maturation and induction of CTL that are able to provide protection of mice against challenge with tumor cells. To develop an improved formulation of HSP70.PC-based tumor vaccine for patient use, we extracted HSP70.PC-F from DC fused to patient derived ovarian cancer or established human breast cancer cells and examined their properties as tumor vaccines. HSP70.PC-F induced T cells that express higher levels of IFN-γ and exhibit increased levels of killing of tumor cells compared to those induced by HSP70.PC derived from tumor cells. Enhanced immunogenicity of HSP70.PC-F was associated with improved composition of the vaccine including increased content of tumor antigens and their processed intermediates, and the detection of other HSPs such as HSP90 and HSP110. The present study has therefore provided an alternative approach to preparation of HSP-based vaccines using DC/tumor fusion technology and gentle and rapid isolation of HSP.PC.
HSP70; MUC1; HER2/neu; T cell activation
Many inducible transcription factors are regulated through batteries of posttranslational modifications that couple their activity to inducing stimuli. We have studied such regulation of Heat Shock Factor 1 (HSF1), a key protein in control of the heat shock response, and a participant in carcinogenisis, neurological health and aging. As the mechanisms involved in the intracellular regulation of HSF1 in good health and its dysregulation in disease are still incomplete we are investigating the role of posttranslational modifications in such regulation.
In a proteomic study of HSF1 binding partners, we have discovered its association with the pleiotropic protein kinase A (PKA). HSF1 binds avidly to the catalytic subunit of PKA, (PKAcα) and becomes phosphorylated on a novel serine phosphorylation site within its central regulatory domain (serine 320 or S320), both in vitro and in vivo. Intracellular PKAcα levels and phosphorylation of HSF1 at S320 were both required for HSF1 to be localized to the nucleus, bind to response elements in the promoter of an HSF1 target gene (hsp70.1) and activate hsp70.1 after stress. Reduction in PKAcα levels by small hairpin RNA led to HSF1 exclusion from the nucleus, its exodus from the hsp70.1 promoter and decreased hsp70.1 transcription. Likewise, null mutation of HSF1 at S320 by alanine substitution for serine led to an HSF1 species excluded from the nucleus and deficient in hsp70.1 activation.
These findings of PKA regulation of HSF1 through S320 phosphorylation add to our knowledge of the signaling networks converging on this factor and may contribute to elucidating its complex roles in the stress response and understanding HSF1 dysregulation in disease.
Ionizing radiation (IR) is a widely used approach to cancer therapy, ranking second only to surgery in rate of utilization. Responses of cancer patients to radiotherapy depend in part on the intrinsic radiosensitivity of the tumor cells. Thus, promoting tumor cell sensitivity to IR could significantly enhance the treatment outcome and quality of life for patients.
Mammary tumor cells were treated by a 16-base phosphodiester-linked oligonucleotide homologous to the telomere G-rich sequence TTAGGG (T-oligo: GGTTAGGTGTAGGTTT) or a control-oligo (the partial complement, TAACCCTAACCCTAAC) followed by IR. The inhibition of tumor cell growth in vitro was assessed by cell counting and clonogenic cell survival assay. The tumorigenesis of tumor cells after various treatments was measured by tumor growth in mice. The mechanism underlying the radiosensitization by T-oligo was explored by immunofluorescent determination of phosphorylated histone H2AX (γH2AX) foci, β-galactosidase staining, comet and Terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP Nick End Labeling (TUNEL) assays. The efficacy of the combined treatment was assessed in a spontaneous murine mammary tumor model.
Pretreatment of tumor cells with T-oligo for 24 hours in vitro enhanced both senescence and apoptosis of irradiated tumor cells and reduced clonogenic potential. Radiosensitization by T-oligo was associated with increased formation and/or delayed resolution of γH2AX DNA damage foci and fragmented DNA. T-oligo also caused radiosensitization in two in vivo mammary tumor models. Indeed, combined T-oligo and IR-treatment in vivo led to a substantial reduction in tumor growth. Of further significance, treatment with T-oligo and IR led to synergistic inhibition of the growth of spontaneous mammary carcinomas. Despite these profound antitumor properties, T-oligo and IR caused no detectable side effects under our experimental conditions.
Pretreatment with T-oligo sensitizes mammary tumor cells to radiation in both in vitro and in vivo settings with minimal or no normal tissue side effects.
In recent years, it has been hypothesised that a new signalling system may exist in vertebrates in which secreted molecular chaperones form a dynamic continuum between the cellular stress response and corresponding homeostatic physiological mechanisms. This hypothesis seems to be supported by the finding that many molecular chaperones are released from cells and act as extracellular signals for a range of cells. However, this nascent field of biological research seems to suffer from an excessive criticism that the biological activities of molecular chaperones are due to undefined components of the microbial expression hosts used to generate recombinant versions of these proteins. In this article, a number of the proponents of the cell signalling actions of molecular chaperones take this criticism head-on. They show that sufficient evidence exists to support fully the hypothesis that molecular chaperones have cell–cell signalling actions that are likely to be part of the homeostatic mechanism of the vertebrate.
Heat shock proteins; Endotoxin; Innate immunity; Adaptive immunity; Inflammation; Immunoregulation