Heat-shock protein 104 (Hsp104) and caseinolytic peptidase B (ClpB), members of the AAA+ superfamily, are molecular machines involved in disaggregating insoluble protein aggregates, a process not long ago thought to be impossible. During extreme stress they are essential for cell survival. In addition, Hsp104 regulates prion assembly and disassembly. For most of their protein remodeling activities Hsp104 and ClpB work in collaboration with the Hsp70 or DnaK chaperone systems. Together, the two chaperones catalyze protein disaggregation and reactivation by a mechanism probably involving the extraction of polypeptides from aggregates by forced unfolding and translocation through the Hsp104/ClpB central cavity. The polypeptides are then released back into the cellular milieu for spontaneous or chaperone-mediated refolding.