HSP90 inhibitors disrupt a transient HSP90-HSF1 interaction and identify a noncanonical model of HSP90-mediated HSF1 regulation

Toshiki Kijima, Thomas L Prince, Megan L Tigue, Kendrick H Yim, Harvey Schwartz, Kristin Beebe, Sunmin Lee, Marek A Budzynski, Heinric Williams, Jane B Trepel, Lea Sistonen, Stuart Calderwood, Len Neckers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) initiates a broad transcriptional response to proteotoxic stress while also mediating a cancer-specific transcriptional program. HSF1 is thought to be regulated by molecular chaperones, including Heat Shock Protein 90 (HSP90). HSP90 is proposed to sequester HSF1 in unstressed cells, but visualization of this interaction in vivo requires protein crosslinking. In this report, we show that HSP90 binding to HSF1 depends on HSP90 conformation and is only readily visualized for the ATP-dependent, N-domain dimerized chaperone, a conformation only rarely sampled by mammalian HSP90. We have used this mutationally fixed conformation to map HSP90 binding sites on HSF1. Further, we show that ATP-competitive, N-domain targeted HSP90 inhibitors disrupt this interaction, resulting in the increased duration of HSF1 occupancy of the hsp70 promoter and significant prolongation of both the constitutive and heat-induced HSF1 transcriptional activity. While our data do not support a role for HSP90 in sequestering HSF1 monomers to suppress HSF1 transcriptional activity, our findings do identify a noncanonical role for HSP90 in providing dynamic modulation of HSF1 activity by participating in removal of HSF1 trimers from heat shock elements in DNA, thus terminating the heat shock response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6976
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Binding Sites
  • DNA/metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors/metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins/antagonists & inhibitors
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors/metabolism
  • Humans
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Binding


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