Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Journal of Steroid Biochemistry & Molecular Biology


Hexamethylene bis-acetamide inducible protein 1 (HEXIM1) is identified as a novel inhibitor of estrogen stimulated breast cell growth, and it suppresses estrogen receptor-a transcriptional activity. HEXIM1 protein level has been found to be downregulated by estrogens. Recently, HEXIM1 has been found to inhibit androgen receptor transcriptional activity as well. Researchers have used Hexamethylene bisacetamide (HMBA) for decades to stimulate HEXIM1 expression, which also inhibit estrogen stimulated breast cancer cell gene activation and androgen stimulated prostate cancer gene activation. However, the direct molecular targets of HMBA that modulate the induction of HEXIM1 expression in mammalian cells have not been identified. Based on HMBA and its more potent analog 4a1, we designed molecular probes to pull down the binding proteins of these compounds. Via proteomic approach and biological assays, we demonstrate that HMBA and 4a1 are actually heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) binders. The known HSP70 activator showed similar activity as HMBA and 4a1 to induce HEXIM1 expression, suggesting that HMBA and 4a1 might be putative HSP70 activators. Molecular target identification of HMBA and 4a1 could lead to further structural optimization of the parental compound to generate more potent derivatives to stimulate HEXIM1 expression, which could be a novel approach for hormone dependent breast cancer and prostate cancer treatment.


This research was supported Center for Gene Regulation in Health and Disease (GRHD) of Cleveland State University and Ohio Department of Development (ODOD). Chunfang Gan was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (No: 21562007).