Actin cytoskeleton and small heat shock proteins: how do they interact?

Cell Stress Chaperones. 2002 Apr;7(2):167-76. doi: 10.1379/1466-1268(2002)007<0167:acashs>;2.


Actin and small heat shock proteins (sHsps) are ubiquitous and multifaceted proteins that exist in 2 reversible forms, monomers and multimers, ie, the microfilament of the cytoskeleton and oligomers of the sHsps, generally, supposed to be in a spherical and hollow form. Two situations are described in the literature, where the properties of actin are modulated by sHsps; the actin polymerization is inhibited in vitro by some sHsps acting as capping proteins, and the actin cytoskeleton is protected by some sHsps against the disruption induced by various stressful conditions. We propose that a direct actin-sHsp interaction occurs to inhibit actin polymerization and to participate in the in vivo regulation of actin filament dynamics. Protection of the actin cytoskeleton would result from an F-actin-sHsp interaction in which microfilaments would be coated by small oligomers of phosphorylated sHsps. Both proteins share common structural motives suggesting direct binding sites, but they remain to be demonstrated. Some sHsps would behave with the actin cytoskeleton as actin-binding proteins capable of either capping a microfilament when present as a nonphosphorylated monomer or stabilizing and protecting the microfilament when organized in small, phosphorylated oligomers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism*
  • HSP27 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Neoplasm Proteins / metabolism


  • Actins
  • HSP27 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSPB1 protein, human
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Neoplasm Proteins