Increased expression of heat shock proteins (HSPs) following heat stress or other stress conditions is a common physiological response in almost all living organisms. Modification of cytosolic proteins including HSPs by O-GlcNAc has been shown to enhance their capabilities for counteracting lethal levels of cellular stress. Since HSPs are key players in stress resistance and protein homeostasis, we aimed to analyze their forms at the cellular and molecular level using camel and human HSPs as models for efficient and moderate thermotolerant mammals, respectively. In this study, we cloned the cDNA encoding two inducible HSP members, HSPA6 and CRYAB from both camel (Camelus dromedarius) and human in a Myc-tagged mammalian expression vector. Expression of these chaperones in COS-1 cells revealed protein bands of approximately 25-kDa for both camel and human CRYAB and 70-kDa for camel HSPA6 and its human homologue. While localization and trafficking of the camel and human HSPs revealed similar cytosolic localization, we could demonstrate altered glycan structure between camel and human HSPA6. Interestingly, the glycoform of camel HSPA6 was rapidly formed and stabilized under normal and stress culture conditions whereas human HSPA6 reacted differently under similar thermal and hypoxic stress conditions. Our data suggest that efficient glycosylation of camel HSPA6 is among the mechanisms that provide camelids with a superior capability for alleviating stressful environmental circumstances.
Keywords: CRYAB; HSPA6; O-GlcNAc; camel; heat shock proteins; heat stress; hypoxia; protein expression.