Overcoming HSP27-mediated resistance by altered dimerization of HSP27 using small molecules

Jee Hye Kim, Ye Jin Jung, Byeol Choi, Na Lim Lee, Hae Jun Lee, Soo Yeon Kwak, Youngjoo Kwon, Younghwa Na, Yun Sil Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Heat shock protein 27 (HSP27, HSPB1) is an anti-apoptotic protein characterized for its tumorigenic and metastatic properties, and now referenced as a major therapeutic target in many types of cancer. The biochemical properties of HSP27 rely on a structural oligomeric and dynamic organization that is important for its chaperone activity. Down-regulation by small interfering RNA or inhibition with a dominant-negative mutant efficiently counteracts the anti-apoptotic and protective properties of HSP27. However, unlike other HSPs such as HSP90 and HSP70, small molecule approaches for neutralization of HSP27 are not well established because of the absence of an ATP binding domain. Previously, we found that a small molecule, zerumbone (ZER), induced altered dimerization of HSP27 by cross linking the cysteine residues required to build a large oligomer, led to sensitization in combination with radiation. In this study, we identified another small molecule, a xanthone compound, more capable of altering dimeric HSP27 than ZER and yielding sensitization in human lung cancer cells when combined with HSP90 inhibitors or standard anticancer modalities such as irradiation and cytotoxic anticancer drugs. Therefore, altered dimerization of HSP27 represents a good strategy for anticancer therapy in HSP27- overexpressing cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53178-53190
Number of pages13
Issue number33
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant of the Nuclear R&D Program (2011-0031696, 2013M2A2 A704043384, and 2015M2A2A7A 03044831) and the Bio & Medical Technology Development Program (NRF2014M3A9A9073 908) of the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), funded by the Korean government (Ministry of Science, ICT & Future Planning).


  • Altered dimerization
  • Combination therapy
  • HSP27 inhibition
  • Overcoming resistance


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