Treatment of cultured human tumor cells with the chloroethylnitrosourea antitumor drug 1,3-bis(2-chloroethyl)-1-nitrosourea (BCNU) selectively induces transcription and protein synthesis of a subset of the human heat shock or stress-induced genes (HSP90 and HSP70) with little effect on other stress genes or on expression of the c-fos, c-myc, or β-actin genes. The active component of BCNU and related compounds appears to be the isocyanate moiety that causes carbamoylation of proteins and nucleic acids. Transcriptional activation of the human HSP70 gene by BCNU is dependent on the heat shock element and correlates with the level of heat shock transcription factor and its binding to the heat shock element in vivo. Unlike activation by heat or heavy metals, BCNU-mediated activation is strongly dependent upon new protein synthesis. This suggests that BCNU-induced, isocyanate-mediated damage to newly synthesized protein(s) may be responsible for activation of the heat shock transcription factor and increased transcription of the HSP90 and HSP70 genes.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Jun 1 1991|
- Protein damage
- Transcriptional control
ASJC Scopus subject areas