H-S Cho, T Shimazu, G Toyokawa, Y Daigo, Y Maehara, S Hayami, A Ito, K Masuda, N Ikawa, HI Field, E Tsuchiya, S-I Ohnuma, BAJ Ponder, M Yoshida, Y Nakamura, R Hamamoto
Although heat-shock protein 70 (HSP70), an evolutionarily highly conserved molecular chaperone, is known to be post-translationally modified in various ways such as phosphorylation, ubiquitination and glycosylation, physiological significance of lysine methylation has never been elucidated. Here we identify dimethylation of HSP70 at Lys-561 by SETD1A. Enhanced HSP70 methylation was detected in various types of human cancer by immunohistochemical analysis, although the methylation was barely detectable in corresponding non-neoplastic tissues. Interestingly, methylated HSP70 predominantly localizes to the nucleus of cancer cells, whereas most of the HSP70 protein locates to the cytoplasm. Nuclear HSP70 directly interacts with Aurora kinase B (AURKB) in a methylation-dependent manner and promotes AURKB activity in vitro and in vivo. We also find that methylated HSP70 has a growth-promoting effect in cancer cells. Our findings demonstrate a crucial role of HSP70 methylation in human carcinogenesis.