Exp Eye Res 2013 May 4;110:10-7. Epub 2013 Mar 4.
Biomedical Sciences Department, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Florida Atlantic University, 777 Glades Rd, Boca Raton, FL 33431, USA.
αB-crystallin is a small heat shock protein that exhibits chaperone activity and can protect multiple cell types against oxidative stress damage. Altered levels and specific mutations of αB-crystallin are associated with multiple degenerative diseases. We previously found that αB-crystallin translocates to lens and retinal cell mitochondria upon oxidative stress exposure where it provides protection against oxidative stress damage. To date, the role of the chaperone function of αB-crystallin in mitochondrial translocation and protection has not been established. Here, we sought to determine the relationship between the chaperone activity of αB-crystallin and its ability to translocate to and protect retinal cell mitochondria against oxidative stress damage. Our data provide evidence that three forms of αB-crystallin exhibiting different chaperone activity levels including wild-type, R120G (decreased chaperone activity) and M68A (increased chaperone activity) provide comparable levels of mitochondrial translocation and protection to retinal cells exposed to oxidative stress. The results provide evidence that mitochondrial translocation and protection by αB-crystallin is independent of its chaperone activity and that other functions of αB-crystallin may also be independent of its chaperone activity.