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EMBO J. 2008 Jan 23;27(2):328-35. doi: 10.1038/sj.emboj.7601970.

Chaperones in control of protein disaggregation.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Gdansk, Gdansk, Poland.


The chaperone protein network controls both initial protein folding and subsequent maintenance of proteins in the cell. Although the native structure of a protein is principally encoded in its amino-acid sequence, the process of folding in vivo very often requires the assistance of molecular chaperones. Chaperones also play a role in a post-translational quality control system and thus are required to maintain the proper conformation of proteins under changing environmental conditions. Many factors leading to unfolding and misfolding of proteins eventually result in protein aggregation. Stress imposed by high temperature was one of the first aggregation-inducing factors studied and remains one of the main models in this field. With massive protein aggregation occurring in response to heat exposure, the cell needs chaperones to control and counteract the aggregation process. Elimination of aggregates can be achieved by solubilization of aggregates and either refolding of the liberated polypeptides or their proteolysis. Here, we focus on the molecular mechanisms by which heat-shock protein 70 (Hsp70), Hsp100 and small Hsp chaperones liberate and refold polypeptides trapped in protein aggregates.

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