Table of Contents
Physiology Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 121402, 12 pages
Review Article

A Novel Mechanism for Cross-Adaptation between Heat and Altitude Acclimation: The Role of Heat Shock Protein 90

Department of Health, Exercise and Sports Sciences, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA

Received 28 October 2013; Revised 4 April 2014; Accepted 9 April 2014; Published 12 May 2014

Academic Editor: Hanjoong Jo

Copyright © 2014 Roy M. Salgado 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.


Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) is a member of a family of molecular chaperone proteins which can be upregulated by various stressors including heat stress leading to increases in HSP90 protein expression. Its primary functions include (1) renaturing and denaturing of damaged proteins caused by heat stress and (2) interacting with client proteins to induce cell signaling for gene expression. The latter function is of interest because, in cancer cells, HSP90 has been reported to interact with the transcription hypoxic-inducible factor 1α (HIF1α). In a normoxic environment, HIF1α is degraded and therefore has limited physiological function. In contrast, in a hypoxic environment, stabilized HIF1α acts to promote erythropoiesis and angiogenesis. Since HSP90 interacts with HIF1α, and HSP90 can be upregulated from heat acclimation in humans, we present a proposal that heat acclimation can mimic molecular adaptations to those of altitude exposure. Specifically, we propose that heat acclimation increases HSP90 which then stabilizes HIF1α in a normoxic environment. This has many implications since HIF1α regulates red blood cell and vasculature formation. In this paper we will discuss (1) the functional roles of HSP90 and HIF1α, (2) the interaction between HSP90 and other client proteins including HIF1α, and (3) results from in vitro studies that may suggest how the relationship between HSP90 and HIF1α might be applied to individuals preparing to make altitude sojourns.