Research Papers:

Knock-down of Hdj2/DNAJA1 co-chaperone results in an unexpected burst of tumorigenicity of C6 glioblastoma cells

Darya A. Meshalkina _, Maxim A. Shevtsov, Anatoliy V. Dobrodumov, Elena Y. Komarova, Irina V. Voronkina, Vladimir F. Lazarev, Boris A. Margulis and Irina V. Guzhova

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:22050-22063. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.7872

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Darya A. Meshalkina1,*, Maxim A. Shevtsov1,2,*, Anatoliy V. Dobrodumov3, Elena Y. Komarova1, Irina V. Voronkina1, Vladimir F. Lazarev1, Boris A. Margulis1, Irina V. Guzhova1

1Institute of Cytology of Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg 194064, Russia

2First I.P. Pavlov State Medical University of St. Petersburg, St. Petersburg 197022, Russia

3Institute of Macromolecular Compounds of the Russian Academy of Sciences, St. Petersburg 199004, Russia

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Irina V. Guzhova, e-mail: [email protected]

Key words: glioblastoma, Hdj2, Hsp70, tumorigenicity, metastases

Received: September 30, 2015    Accepted: February 20, 2016    Published: March 03, 2016


The chaperone system based on Hsp70 and proteins of the DnaJ family is known to protect tumor cells from a variety of cytotoxic factors, including anti-tumor therapy. To analyze whether this also functions in a highly malignant brain tumor, we knocked down the expression of Hsp70 (HSPA1A) and its two most abundant co-chaperones, Hdj1 (DNAJB1) and Hdj2 (DNAJA1) in a C6 rat glioblastoma cell line. As expected, tumor depletion of Hsp70 caused a substantial reduction in its growth rate and increased the survival of tumor-bearing animals, whereas the reduction of Hdj1 expression had no effect. Unexpectedly, a reduction in the expression of Hdj2 led to the enhanced aggressiveness of the C6 tumor, demonstrated by its rapid growth, metastasis formation and a 1.5-fold reduction in the lifespan of tumor-bearing animals. The in vitro reduction of Hdj2 expression reduced spheroid density and simultaneously enhanced the migration and invasion of C6 cells. At the molecular level, a knock-down of Hdj2 led to the relocation of N-cadherin and the enhanced activity of metalloproteinases 1, 2, 8 and 9, which are markers of highly malignant cancer cells. The changes in the actin cytoskeleton in Hdj2-depleted cells indicate that the protein is also important for prevention of the amoeboid-like transition of tumor cells. The results of this study uncover a completely new role for the Hdj2 co-chaperone in tumorigenicity and suggest that the protein is a potential drug target.

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