Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part A, Molecular & integrative physiology

Expression and localization of the Xenopus laevis small heat shock protein, HSPB6 (HSP20), in A6 kidney epithelial cells.

PMID 27354198


Small heat shock proteins (sHSPs) are molecular chaperones that bind to unfolded protein, inhibit the formation of toxic aggregates and facilitate their refolding and/or degradation. Previously, the only sHSPs that have been studied in detail in the model frog system, Xenopus laevis, were members of the HSP30 family and HSPB1 (HSP27). We now report the analysis of X. laevis HSPB6, an ortholog of mammalian HSPB6. X. laevis HSPB6 cDNA encodes a 168 aa protein that contains an α-crystallin domain, a polar C-terminal extension and some possible phosphorylation sites. X. laevis HSPB6 shares 94% identity with a X. tropicalis HSPB6, 65% with turtle, 59% with humans, 49% with zebrafish and only 50% and 43% with X. laevis HSPB1 and HSP30C, respectively. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that X. laevis HSPB6 grouped more closely with mammalian and reptilian HSPB6s than with fish HSPB6. X. laevis recombinant HSPB6 displayed molecular chaperone properties since it had the ability to inhibit heat-induced aggregation of citrate synthase. Immunoblot analysis determined that HSPB6 was present constitutively in kidney epithelial cells and that heat shock treatment did not upregulate HSPB6 levels. While treatment with the proteasomal inhibitor, MG132, resulted in a 2-fold increase in HSPB6 levels, exposure to cadmium chloride produced a slight increase in HSPB6. These findings were in contrast to HSP70, which was enhanced in response to all three stressors. Finally, immunocytochemical analysis revealed that HSPB6 was present in the cytoplasm in the perinuclear region with some in the nucleus.