The role of heat shock proteins and co-chaperones in heart failure

Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 2018 Jan 19;373(1738):20160530. doi: 10.1098/rstb.2016.0530.


The ongoing contractile and metabolic demands of the heart require a tight control over protein quality control, including the maintenance of protein folding, turnover and synthesis. In heart disease, increases in mechanical and oxidative stresses, post-translational modifications (e.g., phosphorylation), for example, decrease protein stability to favour misfolding in myocardial infarction, heart failure or ageing. These misfolded proteins are toxic to cardiomyocytes, directly contributing to the common accumulation found in human heart failure. One of the critical class of proteins involved in protecting the heart against these threats are molecular chaperones, including the heat shock protein70 (HSP70), HSP90 and co-chaperones CHIP (carboxy terminus of Hsp70-interacting protein, encoded by the Stub1 gene) and BAG-3 (BCL2-associated athanogene 3). Here, we review their emerging roles in the maintenance of cardiomyocytes in human and experimental models of heart failure, including their roles in facilitating the removal of misfolded and degraded proteins, inhibiting apoptosis and maintaining the structural integrity of the sarcomere and regulation of nuclear receptors. Furthermore, we discuss emerging evidence of increased expression of extracellular HSP70, HSP90 and BAG-3 in heart failure, with complementary independent roles from intracellular functions with important therapeutic and diagnostic considerations. While our understanding of these major HSPs in heart failure is incomplete, there is a clear potential role for therapeutic modulation of HSPs in heart failure with important contextual considerations to counteract the imbalance of protein damage and endogenous protein quality control systems.This article is part of the theme issue 'Heat shock proteins as modulators and therapeutic targets of chronic disease: an integrated perspective'.

Keywords: BAG-3; HSP70; HSP90; Stub1; carboxy terminus of HSP70-interacting protein; heart failure.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Heart Failure / genetics*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism*
  • Rats


  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones