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Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters

Open Access

Alterations of the Hsp70/Hsp90 chaperone and the HOP/CHIP co-chaperone system in cancer

  • Eva Ruckova1,
  • Petr Muller1,
  • Rudolf Nenutil1 and
  • Borivoj Vojtesek1Email author
Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal201217:21

Received: 2 February 2012

Accepted: 22 May 2012

Published: 5 June 2012


Activation of the Hsp90 chaperone system is a characteristic of cancer cells. The regulation of chaperone activities involves their interaction with cochaperones; therefore we investigated the expression of Hsp70 and Hsp90 and their specific co-chaperones HOP and CHIP in cancer cell lines and primary cancers. Inhibition of Hsp90 by 17AAG increased the levels of Hsp70, Hsp90 and HOP but not CHIP mRNA in cancer cells. These changes are linked to activation of the HSF1 transcription factor and we show that the HOP promoter contains HSF1 binding sites, and that HSF1 binding to the HOP promoter is increased following 17AAG. The lack of alteration in the co-chaperone CHIP is explained by a lack of HSF response elements in the CHIP promoter. Non-proliferating cells expressed higher levels of CHIP and lower HOP, Hsp70 and Hsp90 levels compared to proliferating cells. Decreased expression of CHIP in proliferating cancer cells is in keeping with its proposed tumor suppressor properties, while over-expression of HOP in proliferating cells may contribute to excessive Hsp90 activity and stabilization of client proteins in tumors. In a panel of colorectal cancer samples, increased expression of Hsp70 and an increased ratio of HOP to CHIP were found, and were associated with decreased median survival. These data indicate that multiple changes occur in the chaperone/co-chaperone system in cancer that impact patient survival. It is likely that the ability to identify individual alterations to this system will be beneficial for treatment strategy decisions, particularly those that employ chaperone inhibitors.

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