Eukaryotic cells exhibit a characteristic response to hyperthermic treatment, involving morphological and cytoskeletal alterations and the induction of heat shock protein synthesis. Small GTPases of the Ras superfamily are known to serve as molecular switches which mediate responses to extracellular stimuli. We addressed here how small GTPase Rac1 integrates signals from heat stress and simultaneously induces various cellular changes in mammalian cells. As evidence that Rac1 is implicated in the heat shock response, we first demonstrated that both mild (41.5°C) and severe (43°C) heat shock induced membrane translocation of Rac1. Following inhibition of the activation or palmitoylation of Rac1, the size of its plasma membrane-bound pool was significantly decreased while the heat shock-induced alterations in the cytoskeleton and cell morphology were prevented. We earlier documented that the size distribution pattern of cholesterol-rich rafts is temperature dependent and hypothesized that this is coupled to the triggering mechanism of stress sensing and signaling. Interestingly, when plasma membrane localization of Rac1 was inhibited, a different and temperature independent average domain size was detected. In addition, inhibition of the activation or palmitoylation of Rac1 resulted in a strongly decreased expression of the genes of major heat shock proteins hsp25 and hsp70 under both mild and severe heat stress conditions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)