Neurons face a changeable microenvironment and therefore need mechanisms that allow rapid switch on/off of their cytoprotective and apoptosis-inducing signaling pathways. Cellular mechanisms that control apoptosis activation include the regulation of pro/antiapoptotic mRNAs through their 3'-untranslated region (UTR). This region holds binding elements for RNA-binding proteins, which can control mRNA translation. Here we demonstrate that heat shock protein 27 (Hsp27) prevents oxidative stress-induced cell death in cerebellar granule neurons by specific regulation of the mRNA for the proapoptotic BH3-only protein, Bim. Hsp27 depletion induced by oxidative stress using hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) correlated with bim gene activation and subsequent neuronal death, whereas enhanced Hsp27 expression prevented these. This effect could not be explained by proteasomal degradation of Bim or bim promoter inhibition; however, it was associated with a specific increase in the levels of bim mRNA and with its binding to Hsp27. Finally, we determined that enhanced Hsp27 expression in neurons exposed to H2O2 or glutamate prevented the translation of a reporter plasmid where bim-3'UTR mRNA sequence was cloned downstream of a luciferase gene. These results suggest that repression of bim mRNA translation through binding to the 3'UTR constitutes a novel cytoprotective mechanism of Hsp27 during stress in neurons.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ->