Activation of heat shock factor 1 by hyperosmotic or hypo-osmotic stress is drastically attenuated in normal during senescence

Jiebo Lu, Jeong Hyeon Park, Alice Yee Chang Liu, Kuang Yu Chen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


We have previously reported that osmotic stress prominently induces the DNA binding activity of the heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1). In the present study, we examined the effects of medium osmolarity on both the activation of HSF1 and the programmed cell death in normal human fibroblasts during cellular senescence. The activation of HSF1 occurred rapidly in presenescent (early passage) IMR-90 cells when exposed to either hypo-osmotic or hyperosmotic stress. In contrast, the activation of HSF1 was significantly attenuated in senescent cells. Western blot analysis indicated that equal amounts of HSF1 were present as monomers in the cytoplasm of both presenescent and senescent cells in normal growth medium. Under either hypo- osmotic or hyperosmotic stress, trimerization and nuclear localization of HSF1 occurred in presenescent cells but not in senescent cells. More than 80% of HSF1 in senescent cells remained as monomers in the cytoplasm under osmotic stress, suggesting a defect in the signal transduction pathways that lead to HSF1 trimerization or a dysfunction in the HSF1 protein itself. Possible involvement of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signal transduction pathways in the activation HSF1 was investigated by monitoring the activation of the three MAPKs, ERK1/2, JNK1/2, and p38, in cells exposed to hypo-osmotic or hyperosmotic stress. All three MAPKs were activated by hyperosmotic stress but not hypo-osmotic stress, suggesting that the MAPK signal transduction pathways may not be directly linked to the osmotic stress-induced activation of HSF1. In contrast to the rapid heat shock transcription factor (HSF) activation, apoptosis occurred only after long- term exposure to hypoosmotic or hyperosmotic stress. Despite the prominent induction of HSF1 activation, the presenescent cells were more sensitive than the senescent cells to the osmotic stress-induced apoptosis. (C) 2000 Wiley- Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-190
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

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