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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Regulation of HSP27 on NF-κB pathway activation may be involved in metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma cells apoptosis

Kun Guo12, Nan Xiao Kang2, Yan Li12, Lu Sun2, Lin Gan1, Feng Jie Cui12, Mei Dong Gao1 and Kun Yin Liu12*

Author Affiliations

1 Liver Cancer Institute, Zhongshan Hospital, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, PR China

2 Research Center for Cancer, Institute of Biomedical Science, Fudan University, Shanghai 200032, PR China

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BMC Cancer 2009, 9:100  doi:10.1186/1471-2407-9-100

Published: 31 March 2009

Abstract

Background

During the process of metastasis, cells are subjected to various apoptotic stimuli. Aberrant expression of apoptotic regulators often contribute to cell metastasis. Heat shock protein 27(HSP27) is confirmed as an apoptosis regulator, but its antiapoptotic mechanism in metastatic hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) cells remains unclear.

Methods

Levels of HSP27 protein and its phosphorylation in Hep3B, MHCC97L to MHCC97H cells with different metastatic potentials were determined by western blot analysis. MHCC97H cells were transfected with specific small interference RNA (siRNA) against HSP27. The in vitro migration and invasion potentials of cells were evaluated by Transwell assay. The apoptosis ratio of MHCC97H cells was analyzed by TUNEL staining and Flow Cytometry. Alteration of signal transduction pathway after HSP27 knockdown in MHCC97H cells was evaluated through a Human Q Series Signal Transduction in Cancer Gene Array analysis. Nuclear NF-κB contentration and endogenous IKK activity were demonstrated by ELISA assay. The association of IKKα, IKKβ, IκBα with HSP27 and the association between IKKβ and IKKα in MHCC97H cells were determined by co-immunoprecipitation assay followed by western blot analysis.

Results

HSP27 protein and its phosphorylation increased in parallel with enhanced metastatic potentials of HCC cells. siRNA-mediated HSP27 knockdown in MHCC97H significantly suppressed cells migration and invasion in vitro and induced cell apoptosis; the prominently altered signal transduction pathway was NF-κB pathway after HSP27 knockdown in MHCC97H cells. Furthermore, inhibition of HSP27 expression led to a significant decrease of nuclear NF-κB contentration and endogenous IKK activity. In addition, HSP27 was associated with IKKα, IKKβ, IκBα in three HCC cells above. ELISA assay and western blot analysis also showed a decrease of the association between IKKβ and IKKα, the association between phosphor-HSP27 and IKK complex, and an increase of total IκBα but reducing tendency of phosphor-IκBα when HSP27 expression was efficiently knocked down in MHCC97H cells.

Conclusion

Altogether, these findings revealed a possible effect of HSP27 on apoptosis in metastatic HCC cells, in which HSP27 may regulate NF-kB pathway activation.