Heat-shock proteins

Curr Protoc Immunol. 2004 Feb:Appendix 1:Appendix 1T. doi: 10.1002/0471142735.ima01ts58.


Heat-shock proteins (HSPs), or stress proteins, are highly conserved and present in all organisms and in all cells of all organisms. Selected HSPs, also known as chaperones, play crucial roles in folding/unfolding of proteins, assembly of multiprotein complexes, transport/sorting of proteins into correct subcellular compartments, cell-cycle control and signaling, and protection of cells against stress/apoptosis. More recently, HSPs have been implicated in antigen presentation with the role of chaperoning and transferring antigenic peptides to the class I and class II molecules of the major histocompatibility complexes. In addition, extracellular HSPs can stimulate professional antigen-presenting cells of the immune system, such as macrophages and dendritic cells. HSPs constitute a large family of proteins that are often classified based on their molecular weight: hsp10, hsp40, hsp60, hsp70, hsp90, etc. This unit contains a table that lists common HSPs and summarizes their characteristics including (a) name, (b) subcellular localization, (c) known function, (d) chromosome assignment, (e) brief comments, and (f) references.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation / physiology
  • Chaperonins / classification*
  • Chaperonins / immunology
  • Chaperonins / metabolism
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / metabolism
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / metabolism
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Multiprotein Complexes / classification
  • Multiprotein Complexes / immunology
  • Multiprotein Complexes / metabolism
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Transport / immunology
  • Signal Transduction / immunology


  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class II
  • Multiprotein Complexes
  • Chaperonins