Silencing of HSP90 cochaperone AHA1 expression decreases client protein activation and increases cellular sensitivity to the HSP90 inhibitor 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin.
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AHA1 (activator of HSP90 ATPase) is a cochaperone of the ATP-dependent molecular chaperone, HSP90, which is involved in the maturation, stabilization/degradation, and function of oncogenic proteins. HSP90 operates in a multimeric complex driven by the binding and hydrolysis of ATP. Treatment of cells with the HSP90 inhibitor 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG) results in the degradation of client proteins via the ubiquitin-proteasome pathway. As AHA1 increases the ATPase activity of HSP90, we hypothesized that modulation of AHA1 expression could influence the activity of client proteins and/or the cellular response to 17-AAG. We show that the basal expression of AHA1 is different across a panel of human cancer cell lines, and that treatment with 17-AAG resulted in sustained AHA1 up-regulation. Increasing the expression of AHA1 did not affect the sensitivity to 17-AAG, but did increase C-RAF activity and the levels of phosphorylated MEK1/2 and ERK1/2 without affecting total levels of these proteins or of client proteins C-RAF, ERBB2, or CDK4. Conversely, small interfering RNA-selective knockdown of >80% of AHA1 expression decreased C-RAF activity and reduced the levels of MEK1/2 and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Moreover, the AHA1 knockdown resulted in a significant (P < 0.05) increase in sensitivity to 17-AAG, due in part to a 2- to 3-fold increase in apoptosis. These results show that the reduction of AHA1 levels could decrease the phosphorylation of key signal transduction proteins, and for the first time, separate the activation and stabilization functions of HSP90. Furthermore, AHA1 knockdown could sensitize cancer cells to 17-AAG. We conclude that modulation of AHA1 might be a potential therapeutic strategy to increase sensitivity to HSP90 inhibitors.
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Cell Line, Tumor
RNA, Small Interfering
HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins
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Cancer research, 2008, 68 (4), pp. 1188 - 1197