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Physiol Rev. 2011 Oct;91(4):1123-59. doi: 10.1152/physrev.00023.2010.

Large potentials of small heat shock proteins.

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Department of Biochemistry, School of Biology, Moscow State University, Moscow, Russian Federation.


Modern classification of the family of human small heat shock proteins (the so-called HSPB) is presented, and the structure and properties of three members of this family are analyzed in detail. Ubiquitously expressed HSPB1 (HSP27) is involved in the control of protein folding and, when mutated, plays a significant role in the development of certain neurodegenerative disorders. HSPB1 directly or indirectly participates in the regulation of apoptosis, protects the cell against oxidative stress, and is involved in the regulation of the cytoskeleton. HSPB6 (HSP20) also possesses chaperone-like activity, is involved in regulation of smooth muscle contraction, has pronounced cardioprotective activity, and seems to participate in insulin-dependent regulation of muscle metabolism. HSPB8 (HSP22) prevents accumulation of aggregated proteins in the cell and participates in the regulation of proteolysis of unfolded proteins. HSPB8 also seems to be directly or indirectly involved in regulation of apoptosis and carcinogenesis, contributes to cardiac cell hypertrophy and survival and, when mutated, might be involved in development of neurodegenerative diseases. All small heat shock proteins play important "housekeeping" roles and regulate many vital processes; therefore, they are considered as attractive therapeutic targets.

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