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Pharmacol Ther. 1998 Nov;80(2):183-201.

Heat shock protein 70 kDa: molecular biology, biochemistry, and physiology.

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Department of Clinical Physiology, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, Washington, DC 20307-5100, USA.


Heat shock proteins (HSPs) are detected in all cells, prokaryotic and eukaryotic. In vivo and in vitro studies have shown that various stressors transiently increase production of HSPs as protection against harmful insults. Increased levels of HSPs occur after environmental stresses, infection, normal physiological processes, and gene transfer. Although the mechanisms by which HSPs protect cells are not clearly understood, their expression can be modulated by cell signal transducers, such as changes in intracellular pH, cyclic AMP, Ca2+, Na+, inositol trisphosphate, protein kinase C, and protein phosphatases. Most of the HSPs interact with other proteins in cells and alter their function. These and other protein-protein interactions may mediate the little understood effects of HSPs on various cell functions. In this review, we focus on the structure of the HSP-70 family (HSP-70s), regulation of HSP-70 gene expression, their cytoprotective effects, and the possibility of regulating HSP-70 expression through modulation of signal transduction pathways. The clinical importance and therapeutic potential of HSPs are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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