Heat shock response regulates stimulus-specificity and sensitivity of the pro-inflammatory NF-κB signalling

Anna Paszek, Malgorzata Kardynska, James Bagnall, Jaroslaw Smieja, David Spiller, Piotr Widlak, Marek Kimmel, Wieslaw Widlak, Pawel Paszek

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Ability to adapt to temperature changes trough the Heat Shock Response (HSR) pathways is one of the most fundamental and clinically relevant cellular response systems. Heat Shock (HS) affects the signalling and gene expression responses of the Nuclear Factor κB (NF-κB) transcription factor, a critical regulator of proliferation and inflammation, however, our quantitative understanding of how cells sense and adapt to temperature changes is limited.

We used live-cell time-lapse microscopy and mathematical modelling to understand the signalling of the NF-kappaB system in the human MCF7 breast adenocarcinoma cells in response to pro-inflammatory Interleukin 1β (IL1β) and Tumour Necrosis Factor α (TNFα) cytokines, following exposure to a 37-43qC range of physiological and clinical temperatures.

We show that exposure to 43°C 1h HS inhibits the immediate NF-κB signalling response to TNFα and IL1β stimulation although uptake of cytokines is not impaired. Within 4h after HS treatment IL1β-induced NF-κB responses return to normal levels, but the recovery of the TNFα- induced responses is still affected. Using siRNA knock-down of Heat Shock Factor 1 (HSF1) we show that this stimulus-specificity is conferred via the Inhibitory κB kinase (IKK) signalosome where HSF1-dependent feedback regulates TNFα, but not IL1β-mediated IKK recovery post HS. Furthermore, we demonstrate that through the temperature-dependent denaturation and recovery of IKK, TNFα and IL1β-mediated signalling exhibit different temperature sensitivity and adaptation to repeated HS when exposed to a 37-43qC temperature range. Specifically, IL1β-mediated NF-κB responses are more robust to temperature changes in comparison to those induced by TNFα treatment.

We demonstrate that the kinetics of the NF-κB system following temperature stress is cytokine specific and exhibit differential adaptation to temperature changes. We propose that this differential temperature sensitivity is mediated via the IKK signalosome, which acts as a bona fide temperature sensor trough the HSR cross-talk. This novel quantitative understanding of NF-κB and HSR interactions is fundamentally important for the potential optimization of therapeutic hyperthermia protocols.
Original languageEnglish
Article number77
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalCell Communication and Signaling
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2020


  • heat-shock
  • HSF1
  • NF-kappaB signalling
  • IKK signalsome
  • single-cell analyses
  • live-cell imaging
  • mathematical modelling


Dive into the research topics of 'Heat shock response regulates stimulus-specificity and sensitivity of the pro-inflammatory NF-κB signalling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this