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Heat-shock protein

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Heat-shock protein

(Science: cell biology, molecular biology, protein) families of proteins conserved through prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and bacteria in response to hyperthermia and other environmental stresses, although some are constitutively expressed. They increase thermal tolerance and perform functions essential to cell survival under these conditions.

Some serve to stabilise proteins in abnormal configurations, play a role in folding and unfolding of proteins and the assembly of oligomeric complexes and may act as chaperonins. Hsp90 complexes with inactive steroid hormone receptor and is displaced upon ligand binding.

Four major sub classes are recognised: hsp90, hsp70, hsp60 and small hsps. Hsps have been suggested to act as major immunogens in many infections.

Acronym: hsp