Transcriptional profiles of human epithelial cells in response to heat: Computational evidence for novel heat shock proteins

Jason M. Laramie, T. Philip Chung, Buddy Brownstein, Gary D. Stormo, J. Perren Cobb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


We hypothesized that broad-scale expression profiling would provide insight into the regulatory pathways that control gene expression in response to stress and potentially identify novel heat-responsive genes. HEp2 cells, a human malignant epithelial cell line, were heated at 37°C to 43°C for 60 min to gauge the heat shock response, using as a proxy inducible Hsp70 quantified by Western blot analysis. Based on these results, microarray experiments were conducted at 37°C, 40°C, 41°C, 42°C, and 43°C. Using linear modeling, we compared the sets of microarrays at 40°C, 41°C, 42°C, and 43°C with the 37°C baseline temperature and took the union of the genes exhibiting differential gene expression signal to create two sets of "heat shock response" genes, each set reflecting either increased or decreased RNA abundance. Leveraging human and mouse orthologous alignments, we used the two lists of coexpressed genes to predict transcription factor binding sites in silico, including those for heat shock factor (HSF) 1 and HSF2 transcription factors. We discovered HSF1 and HSF2 binding sites in 15 genes not previously associated with the heat shock response. We conclude that microarray experiments coupled with upstream promoter analysis can be used to identify novel genes that respond to heat shock. Additional experiments are required to validate these putative heat shock proteins and facilitate a deeper understanding of the mechanisms involved during the stress response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)623-630
Number of pages8
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2008


  • Gene expression/
  • Heat shock
  • Heat shock proteins
  • Hep2
  • Microarray
  • Stress response


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