Cytosolic heat shock proteins and heme oxygenase-1 are preferentially induced in response to specific and localized intramitochondrial damage by tetrafluoroethylcysteine

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Previously, S-(1,1,2,2-tetrafluoroethyl)-l-cysteine (TFEC) was shown to mediate cytotoxicity by covalently modifying a well-defined group of intramitochondrial proteins including aconitase, α-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase (αKGDH) subunits, heat shock protein 60 (HSP60) and mitochondrial HSP70 (mtHSP70). To investigate the cellular responses to this mitochondrial damage, microarray analysis of TFEC treated murine hepatocytes of the TAMH cell line was carried out. Results of these studies revealed a HSP response that was significantly stronger than other well-characterized hepatotoxicants including acetaminophen, diquat and rotenone. Specifically, cytosolic HSP25, HSP40, HSP70, HSP105 and microsomal HSP32 (HO-1) were strongly upregulated within the first few hours of TFEC treatment, while little change was observed among other HSPs that are predominantly localized in the mitochondria and endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Post-translational modification of HSP25 was also observed with the appearance of a unique DTT-resistant immunoreactive band at about 50 kDa, a putative dimer. The biological significance of HSP responses to TFEC-induced toxicity were subsequently demonstrated using the “gain of function” pretreatment: heat shock. Overall, we report an atypical HSP induction profile that does not conform to changes expected of a classical temperature shock. Furthermore, despite a well-defined intramitochondrial origin of toxicity, TFEC rapidly evokes an early and strong upregulation of cytosolic stress proteins. The cytoprotective effects of such HSP responses suggest a plausible role in modulating the progression of TFEC-induced cellular injury.

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