Genetic disorders involving molecular-chaperone genes: a perspective

Genet Med. 2005 Jan;7(1):3-12. doi: 10.1097/01.gim.0000151351.11876.c3.


Molecular chaperones are important for maintaining a functional set of proteins in all cellular compartments. Together with protein degradation machineries (e.g., the ubiquitin-proteasome system), chaperones form the core of the cellular protein-quality control mechanism. Chaperones are proteins, and as such, they can be affected by mutations. At least 15 disorders have been identified that are associated with mutations in genes encoding chaperones, or molecules with features suggesting that they function as chaperones. These chaperonopathies and a few other candidates are presented in this article. In most cases, the mechanisms by which the defective genes contribute to the observed phenotypes are still uncharacterized. However, the reported observations definitely point to the possibility that abnormal chaperones participate in pathogenesis. The available data open novel perspectives and should encourage searches for new genetic chaperonopathies, as well as further analyses of the disorders discussed in this article, including detection of new cases.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Genetic Diseases, Inborn / genetics*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics*
  • Mutation*
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex / genetics*


  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Proteasome Endopeptidase Complex