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Cell Stress Chaperones. 1996 Apr;1(1):23-8.

A hitchhiker's guide to the human Hsp70 family.

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  • 1Institute of Reproduction and Development, Monash University, Clayton, Australia.


The human Hsp70 family encompasses at least 11 genes which encode a group of highly related proteins. These proteins include both cognate and highly inducible members, at least some of which act as molecular chaperones. The location of cognate Hsp70s within all the major subcellular compartments is an indication of the importance of these proteins. The expression of several inducible Hsp70 genes is also an indication of the importance of these proteins in the stress response. The existence of multiple genes and protein isoforms has created confusion in the identification and naming of particular family members. We have compiled, from the literature, a list of genes and genetic loci and produced a two-dimensional protein map of the known human Hsp70 family members. This will enable researchers in the field to quickly and reliably identify human Hsp70s. We have also devised a more rational nomenclature for these genes and gene products which, subject to general acceptance, could be extended to Hsp70 families from other species.

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