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J Biol Chem. 2005 Sep 30;280(39):33097-100. Epub 2005 Aug 1.

Heat shock response modulators as therapeutic tools for diseases of protein conformation.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Cell Biology, Rice Institute for Biomedical Research, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 60208, USA.


The disruption of protein folding quality control results in the accumulation of a non-native protein species that can form oligomers, aggregates, and inclusions indicative of neurodegenerative disease. Likewise for over 100 other human diseases of protein confirmation, a common feature may be the formation of off-pathway folding intermediates that are unstable, self-associate, and with time lead to a chronic imbalance in protein homeostasis with deleterious consequences on cellular function. This has led to a hypothesis that enhancement of components of the cellular quality control machinery, specifically the levels and activities of molecular chaperones, suppress aggregation and toxicity phenotypes to allow cellular function to be restored. This review addresses the regulation of molecular chaperones and components of protein homeostasis by heat shock transcription factor 1 (HSF1), the master stress-inducible regulator, and our current understanding of pharmacologically active small molecule regulators of the heat shock response as a therapeutic strategy for protein conformational diseases.

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