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ISRN Biochemistry
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 707586, 6 pages
Research Article

Withaferin A Induces Proteasome-Dependent Degradation of Breast Cancer Susceptibility Gene 1 and Heat Shock Factor 1 Proteins in Breast Cancer Cells

1Department of Surgery, University of Kansas School of Medicine, Kansas City, KS 66160, USA
2Department of Medicinal Chemistry, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA

Received 23 May 2012; Accepted 1 August 2012

Academic Editors: A. Azem, A.-M. Lambeir, B. Penke, and A. Tavares

Copyright © 2012 Xuan Zhang 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 purpose of this study was to examine the regulation of prosurvival factors heat shock factor 1 (HSF1) and breast cancer susceptibility gene 1 (BRCA1) by a natural withanolide withaferin A (WA) in triple negative breast cancer cell lines MDA-MB-231 and BT20. Western analysis was used to examine alternations in HSF1 and BRCA1 protein levels following WA treatment. A protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide and a proteasome inhibitor MG132 were used to investigate the mechanisms of HSF1 and BRCA1 regulation by WA. It was found that WA induced a dose-dependent decrease in HSF1 and BRCA1 protein levels. Further analysis showed that levels of HSF1 and BRCA1 proteins decreased rapidly after WA treatment, and this was attributed to WA-induced denaturation of HSF1 and BRCA1 proteins and subsequent degradation via proteasome-dependent, and protein-synthesis dependent mechanism. In summary, WA induces denaturation and proteasomal degradation of HSF1 and BRCA1 proteins. Further studies are warranted to examine the contribution of HSF1 and BRCA1 depletion to the anticancer effects of WA in breast cancer.