A novel Hsp90 inhibitor to disrupt Hsp90/Cdc37 complex against pancreatic cancer cells

Tao Zhang, Adel Hamza, Xianhua Cao, Bing Wang, Shuwen Yu, Chang Guo Zhan, Duxin Sun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

341 Scopus citations


Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease with multiple biochemical and genetic alterations. Thus, a single agent to hit one molecular target may not be sufficient to treat this disease. The purpose of this study is to identify a novel Hsp90 inhibitor to disrupt protein-protein interactions of Hsp90 and its cochaperones for down-regulating many oncogenes simultaneously against pancreatic cancer cells. Here, we reported that celastrol disrupted Hsp90-Cdc37 interaction in the superchaperone complex to exhibit antitumor activity in vitro and in vivo. Molecular docking and molecular dynamic simulations showed that celastrol blocked the critical interaction of Glu33 (Hsp90) and Arg167 (Cdc37). Immunoprecipitation confirmed that celastrol (10 μmol/L) disrupted the Hsp90-Cdc37 interaction in the pancreatic cancer cell line Panc-1. In contrast to classic Hsp90 inhibitor (geldanamycin), celastrol (0.1-100 μmol/L) did not interfere with ATP binding to Hsp90. However, celastrol (1-5 μmol/L) induced Hsp90 client protein degradation (Cdk4 and Akt) by 70% to 80% and increased Hsp70 expression by 12-fold. Celastrol induced apoptosis in vitro and significantly inhibited tumor growth in Panc-1 xenografts. Moreover, celastrol (3 mg/kg) effectively suppressed tumor metastasis by more than 80% in RIP1-Tag2 transgenic mouse model with pancreatic islet cell carcinogenesis. The data suggest that celastrol is a novel Hsp90 inhibitor to disrupt Hsp90-Cdc37 interaction against pancreatic cancer cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-170
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'A novel Hsp90 inhibitor to disrupt Hsp90/Cdc37 complex against pancreatic cancer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this