Unraveling Complex Interplay between Heat Shock Factor 1 and 2 Splicing Isoforms

Lecomte, Sylvain; Reverdy, Léa; Le Quément, Catherine; Le Masson, Florent; Amon, Axelle; Le Goff, Pascale; Michel, Denis; Christians, Elisabeth; Le Dréan, Yves
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Chaperone synthesis in response to proteotoxic stress is dependent on a family of transcription factors named heat shock factors (HSFs). The two main factors in this family, HSF1 and HSF2, are co-expressed in numerous tissues where they can interact and form heterotrimers in response to proteasome inhibition. HSF1 and HSF2 exhibit two alternative splicing isoforms, called α and β, which contribute to additional complexity in HSF transcriptional regulation, but remain poorly examined in the literature. In this work, we studied the transcriptional activity of HSF1 and HSF2 splicing isoforms transfected into immortalized Mouse Embryonic Fibroblasts (iMEFs) deleted for both Hsf1 and Hsf2, under normal conditions and after proteasome inhibition. We found that HSF1α is significantly more active than the β isoform after exposure to the proteasome inhibitor MG132. Furthermore, we clearly established that, while HSF2 had no transcriptional activity by itself, short β isoform of HSF2 exerts a negative role on HSF1β-dependent transactivation. To further assess the impact of HSF2β inhibition on HSF1 activity, we developed a mathematical modelling approach which revealed that the balance between each HSF isoform in the cell regulated the strength of the transcriptional response. Moreover, we found that cellular stress such as proteasome inhibition could regulate the splicing of Hsf2 mRNA. All together, our results suggest that relative amounts of each HSF1 and HSF2 isoforms quantitatively determine the cellular level of the proteotoxic stress response.


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