The expression of a hsp70 gene in human cells has previously been shown to be related to the growth state of the cells. As an alternative to in vitro synchronization procedures, we have measured steady-state levels of the RNA for a heat-shock protein 70 (hsp70) in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) that are naturally quiescent in a G0 state. The probe used recognized, on RNA blots, one single band. The levels of this hsp70 RNA are elevated in circulating PBMC and decrease when the cells are incubated with serum, or phytohemagglutinin, or simply when they are incubated in culture medium. The levels of hsp70 RNA decrease within 30 min after in vitro culture, and are accompanied by an increase in the levels of c-fos RNA. These findings, together with other recent reports in the literature, suggest a possible role of the hsp70 proteins in the regulation of cell growth.

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