Background & aims: Mammalian heat shock protein 27 (hsp27) is believed to function under normal physiological conditions and during cellular stress. Recent studies indicate a role for hsp27 in regulating actin-cytoskeletal dynamics. In the present study, secretagogue-regulated phosphorylation of hsp27 in rat exocrine pancreas was investigated both in vivo and in isolated acinar cells.
Methods: Western analysis after two-dimensional electrophoresis was used to measure the phosphorylation of hsp27 after treatment of rats or acinar cells with secretagogues. Cholecystokinin-stimulated mitogen-activated protein kinase-activated protein (MAPKAP) kinase 2 activity was measured after immunoprecipitation of the kinase.
Results: hsp27 exists as three isoforms in acini: one nonphosphorylated (pI 6.2) and two phosphorylated (pIs 5.9 and 5.7) forms. Infusion of rats with a secretory or supermaximal dose of cerulein produced an acidic shift in hsp27, indicating an increase in its phosphorylation; the higher dose, known to cause pancreatitis, had a twofold greater effect. In isolated acini, increases in hsp27 phosphorylation were evident at 10 pmol/L and maximal at 1 nmol/L cholecystokinin. The hsp27-specific kinase MAPKAP kinase 2 was activated 2.4-fold with 1 nmol/L cholecystokinin treatment.
Conclusions: hsp27 phosphorylation was stimulated by low and high concentrations of cholecystokinin, both in vivo and in vitro. Phosphorylation was potentially mediated via the MAPKAP kinase 2 intracellular signaling pathway.