We studied the ability of heat shock, DnaJ-like-1 (HSJ1) proteins (which contain DnaJ and ubiquitin-interacting motifs) to reduce polyglutamine-mediated inclusion formation. The experiments demonstrated that expression of heat shock protein 70 (hsp70), hsp40, HSJ1a, and HSJ1b significantly reduced protein inclusion formation in a model of spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA). HSJ1a also mediated a significant decrease in the number of inclusions formed in a primary neuronal model of protein aggregation. Studies to elucidate the mechanisms underlying these reductions showed that hsp70 and hsp40 increased chaperone-mediated refolding. In contrast, expression of HSJ1 proteins did not promote chaperone activity but caused an increase in ubiquitylation. Furthermore, HSJ1a was associated with a ubiquitylated luciferase complex, and in the presence of HSJ1a but not an HSJ1a UIM mutant (HSJ1a-deltaUIM) there was a reduction in luciferase protein levels. Together these results show that HSJ1 proteins mediated an increase in target protein degradation via the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS). We also found that the expression of HSJ1a significantly decreased the number of neurons containing inclusions in an in vivo model of polyglutamine disease. These findings indicate that targeted modification of the UPS to facilitate degradation of misfolded proteins may represent a highly effective therapeutic avenue for the treatment of polyglutamine disease.