A Potential Role for the 70 kD Heat Shock Cognate Protein in Receptor Endocytosis

Publication Date

June 1996

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences


HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins; Receptors, Transferrin; Receptor, Epidermal Growth Factor; Academic Dissertation


Nutrient and growth factor receptors internalize through dathrin coated pits. The signal sequences which mediate the association between receptors and the coated pit reside in receptor cytoplasmic tail domains. These signal sequences have been extensively investigated in nutrient receptors, and a minimal functional sequence has been identified consisting of a tyrosine residue in an exposed b turn. Protein-protein contacts between internalization signal sequences and components of the coated pit machinery have been proposed to mediate rapid internalization. In vitro evidence suggests the AP-2 adaptor may be that protein component. The signal sequences of growth factor receptors are less well understood. However, a growth factor- and temperature- dependent binding between the epideimal growth factor receptor and the AP-2 adaptor has been observed.

We identified Hsc70 as a cytosolic ligand for the cytoplasmic tail of the transferrin receptor. The binding was mapped to the internalization signal sequence of the receptor tail. Mutations within the signal sequence which inhibit internalization result in alteration of signal sequence secondary structure and reduction in stimulation of the Hsc70 ATPase. Co-immunoprecipitation analysis showed a population of transferrin receptors which are bound to Hsc70, suggesting an association in vivo.

We also showed binding of Hsc70 to the epidermal growth factor receptor by co-immunoprecipitation analysis. This binding was increased by treatment with EGF. The binding was transient, and occured prior to the binding of the receptor to AP-2 adaptors. Other agents which induce EGF receptor clustering and internalization also stimulate the transient increase in Hsc70 binding and the later AP-2 binding, suggesting a role in early endocytosis.

These data support the hypothesis that Hsc70 is associated with the receptors for transferrin and epidermal growth factor in vitro and in vivo. We propose a role for the 70 kD heat shock protein in the assembly/disassembly of protein complexes involved in receptor signalling and/or internalization.


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