The Hsp90 chaperone machinery: from structure to drug development

BMB Rep. 2009 Oct 31;42(10):623-30. doi: 10.5483/bmbrep.2009.42.10.623.


Hsp90, an evolutionarily conserved molecular chaperone, is involved in the folding, stabilization, activation, and assembly of a wide range of 'client' proteins, thus playing a central role in many biological processes. Especially, several oncoproteins act as Hsp90 client proteins and tumor cells require higher Hsp90 activity than normal cells to maintain their malignancy. For this reason, Hsp90 has emerged as a promising target for anti-cancer drug development. It is still largely unknown how Hsp90 can recognize structurally unrelated client proteins. However, recent progress in structural studies on Hsp90 and its interaction with various co-chaperones has broadened our knowledge of how the Hsp90 ATPase activity, which is essential for its chaperone function, is regulated and coupled with the conformational changes of Hsp90 dimer. This review focuses on the roles of various Hsp90 co-chaperones in the regulation of the Hsp90 ATPase cycle, as well as in the selection of client proteins. In addition, the current development of Hsp90 inhibitors based on the structural information will be discussed.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Drug Design*
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / chemistry*
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins