HSF1 blockade-induced tumor thermotolerance abolishment is mediated by JNK-dependent caspase-3 activation

Jin Hui Wang, Ming Zhong Yao, Zi Lai Zhang, Yan Hong Zhang, Yi Gang Wang, Xin Yuan Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


We previously blocked the heat shock transcription factor 1 function with a dominant-negative mutant (mHSF1) in breast cancer cell line Bcap37, and found that mHSF1 sensitizes Bcap37 cells to hyperthermia by promoting the apoptotic process. Here we studied the mechanism of this abolishing process and how thermotolerance develops in Bcap37 cells. The results indicated that mHSF1 abolished acquired or intrinsic thermotolerance in Bcap37 cells by enhancing JNK and caspase-3 pathways, two stress-induced apoptotic pathways, after hyperthermia, and interference with either one of them attenuated hyperthermia-induced apoptosis. Furthermore, epistasis assay of these two pathways suggested that JNK was upstream of the caspase-3 pathway. Conversely, other hyperthermia-induced kinases implicated in cell survival and death, Akt, ERK or p38, did not influence the effect of mHSF1, indicating that these kinases were not implicated in this abolishing process. In addition, we found that the development of acquired thermotolerance of Bcap37 cells was associated with the suppression of JNK activation after mild preheat treatment and was not reduced by Akt, ERK or p38 inhibition. In contrast, the intrinsic thermotolerance of Bcap37 cells was due to the intrinsic high levels of Akt and ERK activities since Akt or ERK inhibition resulted in increased thermosensitivity of Bcap37 cells. Our results suggest that mHSF1 plays a valuable role in the thermotolerance abolishment of Bcap37 cells, which likely contributes to tumor therapy in combination with hyperthermia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)736-745
Number of pages10
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 27 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • C-Jun N-terminal kinase
  • Caspase-3
  • Heat shock transcription factor 1
  • Thermotolerance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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