Proteasome inhibition by lactacystin in primary neuronal cells induces both potentially neuroprotective and pro-apoptotic transcriptional responses: A microarray analysis

Elaine Hau Jin Yew, Nam Sang Cheung, Meng Shyan Choy, Robert Z. Qi, Alan Yiu Wah Lee, Zhao Feng Peng, Alirio J. Melendez, Jayapal Manikandan, Evelyn Siew Chuan Koay, Lily Lily Chiu, Wooi Loon Ng, Matthew Whiteman, Jeyaseelan Kandiah, Barry Halliwell

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91 Citations (Scopus)


Although inhibition of the ubiquitin proteasome system has been postulated to play a key role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative diseases, studies have also shown that proteasome inhibition can induce increased expression of neuroprotective heat-shock proteins (HSPs). The global gene expression of primary neurons in response to treatment with the proteasome inhibitor lactacystin was studied to identify the widest range of possible pathways affected. Our results showed changes in mRNA abundance, both at different time points after lactacystin treatment and at different lactacystin concentrations. Genes that were differentially up-regulated at the early time point but not when most cells were undergoing apoptosis might be involved in an attempt to reverse proteasome inhibitor-mediated apoptosis and include HSP70, HSP22 and cell cycle inhibitors. The up-regulation of HSP70 and HSP22 appeared specific towards proteasome inhibitor-mediated cell death. Overexpression of HSP22 was found to protect against proteasome inhibitor-mediated loss of viability by up to 25%. Genes involved in oxidative stress and the inflammatory response were also up-regulated. These data suggest an initial neuroprotective pathway involving HSPs, antioxidants and cell cycle inhibitors, followed by a proapoptotic response possibly mediated by inflammation, oxidative stress and aberrant activation of cell cycle proteins.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)943-956
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Apoptosis
  • Heat-shock proteins
  • Lactacystin
  • Neurons
  • Proteasome inhibition

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