Chaperone activity of small heat shock proteins underlies therapeutic efficacy in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Michael P. Kurnellas, Sara E. Brownell, Leon Su, Andrey V. Malkovskiy, Jayakumar Rajadas, Gregory Dolganov, Sidharth Chopra, Gary K. Schoolnik, Raymond A. Sobel, Jonathan Webster, Shalina S. Ousman, Rachel A. Becker, Lawrence Steinman, Jonathan B. Rothbard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


To determine whether the therapeutic activity of αB crystallin, small heat shock protein B5 (HspB5), was shared with other human sHsps, a set of seven human family members, a mutant of HspB5 G120 known to exhibit reduced chaperone activity, and a mycobacterial sHsp were expressed and purified from bacteria. Each of the recombinant proteins was shown to be a functional chaperone, capable of inhibiting aggregation of denatured insulin with varying efficiency. When injected into mice at the peak of disease, they were all effective in reducing the paralysis in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Additional structure activity correlations between chaperone activity and therapeutic function were established when linear regions within HspB5 were examined.Asingle region, corresponding to residues 73-92 of HspB5, forms amyloid fibrils, exhibited chaperone activity, and was an effective therapeutic for encephalomyelitis. The linkage of the three activities was further established by demonstrating individual substitutions of critical hydrophobic amino acids in the peptide resulted in the loss of all of the functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36423-36434
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number43
StatePublished - Oct 19 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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