We examined effects of psychotropic drugs and local anesthetics on the synthesis of heat shock proteins in Escherichia coli. Chlorpromazine, a phenothiazine derivative, was shown to induce DnaK and GroEL proteins, major heat shock proteins in E. coli. The inductions of these proteins were not observed in an rpoH (= htpR) amber mutant strain, indicating that the heat shock sigma factor σ32 was required for their inductions. Northern blot hybridization analysis revealed that chlorpromazine induced increases of messenger RNAs for the DnaK and GroEL proteins. Thus, the induction occurred at the level of transcription. Chlorpromazine also induced non-heat shock proteins with molecular masses of 21 kDa, 20 kDa, and 17 kDa, even in the rpoH mutant strain. Other psychotropic drugs and local anesthetics, namely, dibucaine, lidocaine, imipramine, tetracaine and procaine, also induced DnaK and GroEL proteins and the small molecular weight proteins.
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