Heat shock 70 kDa protein 1L is a protein that in humans is encoded by the HSPA1Lgene. As a member of the heat shock protein 70 family and a chaperone protein, it facilitates the proper folding of newly translated and misfolded proteins, as well as stabilize or degrade mutant proteins. Its functions contribute to biological processes including signal transduction, apoptosis, protein homeostasis, and cell growth and differentiation. It has been associated with an extensive number of cancers, neurodegenerative diseases, cell senescence and aging, and Graft-versus-host disease.
This gene encodes a 70kDa heat shock protein. In conjunction with other heat shock proteins, this protein stabilizes existing proteins against aggregation and mediates the folding of newly translated proteins in the cytosol and in organelles. The gene is located in the major histocompatibility complex class III region, in a cluster with two closely related genes which also encode isoforms of the 70kDa heat shock protein. In order to properly fold non-native proteins, this protein interacts with the hydrophobic peptide segments of proteins in an ATP-controlled fashion. Though the exact mechanism still remains unclear, there are at least two alternative modes of action: kinetic partitioning and local unfolding. In kinetic partitioning, Hsp70s repetitively bind and release substrates in cycles that maintain low concentrations of free substrate. This effectively prevents aggregation while allowing free molecules to fold to the native state. In local unfolding, the binding and release cycles induce localized unfolding in the substrate, which helps to overcome kinetic barriers for folding to the native state. Ultimately, its role in protein folding contributes to its function in signal transduction, apoptosis, protein homeostasis, and cell growth and differentiation.
In addition to the process of protein folding, transport and degradation, this Hsp70 member can preserve the function of mutant proteins. Nonetheless, effects of these mutations can still manifest when Hsp70 chaperones are overwhelmed during stress conditions. Furthermore, this protein enhances antigen-specific tumor immunity by facilitating more efficient antigen presentation to cytotoxic T cells.
Hsp70 member proteins, including Hsp72, inhibit apoptosis by acting on the caspase-dependent pathway and against apoptosis-inducing agents such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNFα), staurosporin, and doxorubicin. This role leads to its involvement in many pathological processes, such as oncogenesis, neurodegeneration, and senescence. In particular, overexpression of HSP72 has been linked to the development some cancers, such as hepatocellular carcinoma, gastric cancers, colonic tumors, breast cancers, and lung cancers, which led to its use as a prognostic marker for these cancers. Elevated Hsp70 levels in tumor cells may increase malignancy and resistance to therapy by complexing, and hence, stabilizing, oncofetal proteins and products and transporting them into intracellular sites, thereby promoting tumor cell proliferation. As a result, tumor vaccine strategies for Hsp70s have been highly successful in animal models and progressed to clinical trials. One treatment, a Hsp72/AFP recombined vaccine, elicited robust protective immunity against AFP-expressing tumors in mice experiments. Therefore, the vaccine holds promise for treating hepatocellular carcinoma. Alternatively, overexpression of Hsp70 can mitigate the effects of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s corea, and spinocerebellar ataxias, and aging and cell senescence, as observed in centenarians subjected to heat shock challenge.
HSPA1L is also involved in Graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and has potential to serve as a diagnostic/prognostic biomarker.
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