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Disease Markers
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 1575374, 12 pages
Research Article

Heat Shock Protein HSP27 Secretion by Ovarian Cancer Cells Is Linked to Intracellular Expression Levels, Occurs Independently of the Endoplasmic Reticulum Pathway and HSP27’s Phosphorylation Status, and Is Mediated by Exosome Liberation

1Department of Urology, University Medicine Greifswald, Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Strasse, 17475 Greifswald, Germany
2Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, University Medicine Greifswald, Ferdinand-Sauerbruch-Strasse, 17475 Greifswald, Germany

Correspondence should be addressed to Matthias B. Stope

Received 22 September 2016; Revised 6 February 2017; Accepted 12 February 2017; Published 23 February 2017

Academic Editor: Lance A. Liotta

Copyright © 2017 Matthias B. Stope et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The heat shock protein HSP27 has been correlated in ovarian cancer (OC) patients with aggressiveness and chemoresistance and, therefore, represents a promising potential biomarker for OC diagnosis, prognosis, and treatment response. Notably, secretion of soluble HSP27 has been described by a few cell types and may take place as well in OC cells. Therefore, we studied HSP27 secretion mechanisms under diverse cellular conditions in an OC cell model system. Secretion of HSP27 was characterized after overexpression of HSP27 by transfected plasmids and after heat shock. Intra- and extracellular HSP27 amounts were assessed by Western blotting and ELISA. Protein secretion was blocked by brefeldin A and the impact of the HSP27 phosphorylation status was analyzed overexpressing HSP27 phosphomutants. The present study demonstrated that HSP27 secretion by OVCAR-3 and SK-OV-3 cells depends on intracellular HSP27 concentrations. Moreover, HSP27 secretion is independent of the endoplasmic reticulum secretory pathway and HSP27 phosphorylation. Notably, analysis of OC cell-born exosomes not only confirmed the concentration-dependent correlation of HSP27 expression and secretion but also demonstrated a concentration-dependent incorporation of HSP27 protein into exosomes. Thus, secreted HSP27 may become more important as an extracellular factor which controls the tumor microenvironment and might be a noninvasive biomarker.