Investigating the role of Hsp90 in the nucleus

I am a biology major currently finishing my chemistry degree requirements at St Andrews University, Scotland. For the past couple of years, I have become intrigued with new discoveries in scientific journals concerning phenotypic plasticity, miRNA regulation, agouti mice, and modification of histone tails.  Epigenetics fascinates me. The more I learn, the more I look for ways to be part of epigenetic research.  As I look ahead to Summer 2014, I am excited to begin studying the heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) as it interacts with the chromatin. I am interested in how Hsp90’s function at the nucleus is affected when the cellular environment changes during stress, aging, and disease. At the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics (MPI-IE), Freiburg, Germany, I will try to unveil the difference between Hsp90 in the nucleus and the Hsp90 in the cytosol. This project is the perfect way to continue learning about the complexity of genetics. I am excited and honored to have the opportunity to contribute to the understanding of the function of Hsp90 in the cell.

The overall objective of this project is to evaluate the differences in function between Hsp90 in the cytosol and Hsp90 in the nucleus at varying cellular environments. Specifically, this research will investigate:

(1)   The identity of the different isolated proteins binding to the Hsp90 in the nucleus and the Hsp90 in the cytosol at varying conditions (normal conditions, change in temperature, change in pH, aging, and disease) via mass spectroscopy.

(2)   The movement, activity, and nuclear shuttling of the Hsp90 in the cytosol and in the nucleus at varying conditions (normal conditions, change in temperature, change in pH, aging, and disease).

This project will address an important issue in biology with implications far beyond the specific system in which I am proposing to work. An ultimate goal of this project is to prepare a manuscript for submission to a scientific journal. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity! I cannot wait to get started!!! Germany here I come.


  1. mrstern says:

    My epigenetics are a little rusty so please forgive my confusion but my interest was piqued after reading your abstract and would like to ask a few questions. Does Hsp90 have a role in dedifferentiation pathways or alterations to a cell’s phenotype with selective opening of heterochromatin structures? Does early research indicate Hsp90 overexpression may be involved in specific oncogenetic pathways (i.e. Breast, Thyroid, Prostate, etc.)? Does Hsp90 follow importin-mediated nuclear import pathways or can it passively diffuse through the nuclear pore complex? Does nuclear export of Hsp90 involve CRM1 or calmodulin? Sorry for the barrage of questions. Sounds like a fun research project!