Immediate early gene and HSP70 expression in hyperosmotic stress in MDCK cells

D. M. Cohen, J. C. Wasserman, S. R. Gullans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

231 Scopus citations


The early genetic response to hyperosmotic stress remains to be elucidated in eukaryotes. We observed that hyperosmotic NaCl in Madin-Darby canine kidney cells increased levels of mRNA encoding the immediate early gene (IEG) transcription factors Egr-1 and c-fos at 2 h of treatment by two- and threefold, respectively. Sham treatment and hyperosmotic glycerol, an ineffective osmole, had no effect. Hyperosmotic NaCl, but not glycerol, also increased the mRNA level of the stress protein HSP70 by four- to fivefold at 2, 6, and 24 h. These changes occurred despite inhibition of total RNA transcription rate and DNA synthesis rate by NaCl. Neither NaCl nor glycerol treatment manifested significant cytotoxicity. NaCl, and to a lesser extent glycerol, suppressed protein synthesis, a phenomenon previously correlated with IEG superinduction. Therefore, hyperosmotic stimuli with different physiological effects result in differential expression of IEGs and the stress protein HSP70; induction of the former may govern the ensuing program of gene expression that culminates in the osmolyte response, while the latter may serve as a temporizing protective measure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)C594-C601
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology
Issue number4 30-4
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Egr-1
  • c-fos
  • c-myc
  • gene expression
  • osmo tic shock
  • osmolytes
  • osmoregulation
  • proto-oncogene
  • transcription
  • translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Immediate early gene and HSP70 expression in hyperosmotic stress in MDCK cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this