The benzoquinoid ansamycins geldanamycin (GA), herbimycin, and their derivatives are emerging as novel therapeutic agents that act by inhibiting the 90-kDa heat-shock protein hsp90. We report that GA inhibits the proliferation of mitogen-activated T cells. GA is actively toxic to both resting and activated T cells; activated T cells appear to be especially vulnerable. The mechanism by which GA acts is reflected by its effects on an essential hsp90-dependent protein, the T cell-specific nonreceptor tyrosine kinase lck. GA treatment depletes lck levels in cultured T cells by a kinetically slow dose-dependent process. Pulse-chase analyses indicate that GA induces the very rapid degradation of newly synthesized lck molecules. GA also induces a slower degradation of mature lck populations. These results correlate with global losses in protein tyrosine kinase activity and an inability to respond to TCR stimuli, but the activity of mature lck is not immediately compromised. Although the specific proteasome inhibitor lactacystin provides marginal protection against GA-induced lck depletion, proteasome inhibition also induces changes in lck detergent solubility independent of GA application. There is no other evidence for the involvement of the proteosome. Lysosome inhibition provides quantitatively superior protection against degradation. These results indicate that pharmacologic inhibition of hsp90 chaperone function may represent a novel immunosuppressant strategy, and elaborate on the appropriate context in which to interpret losses of lck as a reporter for the pharmacology of GA in whole organisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy