Heat-Induced Conformational Transition Mechanism of Heat Shock Factor 1 Investigated by Tryptophan Probe

Soichiro Kawagoe, Munehiro Kumashiro, Takuya Mabuchi, Hiroyuki Kumeta, Koichiro Ishimori, Tomohide Saio

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1 Citation (Scopus)


A transcriptional regulatory system called heat shock response (HSR) has been developed in eukaryotic cells to maintain proteome homeostasis under various stresses. Heat shock factor-1 (Hsf1) plays a central role in HSR, mainly by upregulating molecular chaperones as a transcription factor. Hsf1 forms a complex with chaperones and exists as a monomer in the resting state under normal conditions. However, upon heat shock, Hsf1 is activated by oligomerization. Thus, oligomerization of Hsf1 is considered an important step in HSR. However, the lack of information about Hsf1 monomer structure in the resting state, as well as the structural change via oligomerization at heat response, impeded the understanding of the thermosensing mechanism through oligomerization. In this study, we applied solution biophysical methods, including fluorescence spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance, and circular dichroism spectroscopy, to investigate the heat-induced conformational transition mechanism of Hsf1 leading to oligomerization. Our study showed that Hsf1 forms an inactive closed conformation mediated by intramolecular contact between leucine zippers (LZs), in which the intermolecular contact between the LZs for oligomerization is prevented. As the temperature increases, Hsf1 changes to an open conformation, where the intramolecular LZ interaction is dissolved so that the LZs can form intermolecular contacts to form oligomers in the active form. Furthermore, since the interaction sites with molecular chaperones and nuclear transporters are also expected to be exposed in the open conformation, the conformational change to the open state can lead to understanding the regulation of Hsf1-mediated stress response through interaction with multiple cellular components.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2897-2908
Number of pages12
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Dec 20


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