The small heat shock proteins family: the long forgotten chaperones

Int J Biochem Cell Biol. 2012 Oct;44(10):1588-92. doi: 10.1016/j.biocel.2012.02.022. Epub 2012 Mar 18.


Small heat shock proteins are a rather heterogeneous family of ATP-independent chaperones, some of which have been proven to block protein aggregation and help the cells to survive stressful conditions. Although much less studied than high molecular weight HSPs like HSP70/HSPA or HSP90/HSPC, their implication in physio-pathological processes and human diseases is now well evidenced, as it will be discussed in the different reviews of this special issue. In this mini-review we will just present a general introduction about the small heat shock proteins family. This article is part of a Directed Issue entitled: Small HSPs in physiology and pathology.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins / metabolism
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Proteins, Small / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins, Small / metabolism
  • Heat-Shock Proteins, Small / physiology*
  • Hereditary Sensory and Autonomic Neuropathies / genetics
  • Humans
  • Muscular Diseases / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational


  • Apoptosis Regulatory Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins, Small