American journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology

HSP60 trafficking in adult cardiac myocytes: role of the exosomal pathway.

PMID 17307989


The heat shock proteins (HSP) are a highly conserved family of proteins with critical functions in protein folding, protein trafficking, and cell signaling. These proteins also protect the cell against injury. HSP60 has been found in the extracellular space and has been identified in the plasma of some individuals. HSP60 is thought to be a "danger signal" to the immune system and is also highly immunogenic. Thus extracellular HSP60 is possibly toxic to the cell. The mechanism by which HSP60 is released into the extracellular space is unknown, as is whether it is released by cardiac myocytes. We investigated several different pathways controlling protein release including the classic, Golgi-mediated pathway. We found that HSP60 is released via exosomes, and that within the exosome, HSP60 is tightly attached to the exosome membrane.