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IUBMB Life. 2008 Jan;60(1):10-8. doi: 10.1002/iub.8.

Chaperones as integrators of cellular networks: changes of cellular integrity in stress and diseases.

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  • 1Department of Medical Chemistry, Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary.


The complex integrity of the cells and its sudden, but often predictable changes can be described and understood by the topology and dynamism of cellular networks. All these networks undergo both local and global rearrangements during stress and development of diseases. Here, we illustrate this by showing the stress-induced structural rearrangement of the yeast protein-protein interaction network (interactome). In an unstressed state, the yeast interactome is highly compact, and the centrally organized modules have a large overlap. During stress, several original modules became more separated, and a number of novel modules also appear. A few basic functions such as theproteasome preserve their central position; however, several functions with high energy demand, such the cell-cycle regulation loose their original centrality during stress. A number of key stress-dependent protein complexes, such as the disaggregation-specific chaperone, Hsp104 gain centrality in the stressed yeast interactome. Molecular chaperones, heat shock, or stress proteins became established as key elements in our molecular understanding of the cellular stress response. Chaperones form complex interaction networks (the chaperome) with each other and their partners. Here, we show that the human chaperome recovers the segregation of protein synthesis-coupled and stress-related chaperones observed in yeast recently. Examination of yeast and human interactomes shows that chaperones 1) are intermodular integrators of protein-protein interaction networks, which 2) often bridge hubs and 3) are favorite candidates for extensive phosphorylation. Moreover, chaperones 4) become more central in the organization of the isolated modules of the stressed yeast protein-protein interaction network, which highlights their importance in the decoupling and recoupling of network modules during and after stress. Chaperone-mediated evolvability of cellular networks may play a key role in cellular adaptation during stress and various polygenic and chronic diseases, such as cancer, diabetes or neurodegeneration.

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