Molecular chaperones as HSF1-specific transcriptional repressors

Genes Dev. 1998 Mar 1;12(5):654-66. doi: 10.1101/gad.12.5.654.


The rapid yet transient transcriptional activation of heat shock genes is mediated by the reversible conversion of HSF1 from an inert negatively regulated monomer to a transcriptionally active DNA-binding trimer. During attenuation of the heat shock response, transcription of heat shock genes returns to basal levels and HSF1 reverts to an inert monomer. These events coincide with elevated levels of Hsp70 and other heat shock proteins (molecular chaperones). Here, we show that the molecular chaperone Hsp70 and the cochaperone Hdj1 interact directly with the transactivation domain of HSF1 and repress heat shock gene transcription. Overexpression of either chaperone represses the transcriptional activity of a transfected GAL4-HSF1 activation domain fusion protein and endogenous HSF1. As neither the activation of HSF1 DNA binding nor inducible phosphorylation of HSF1 was affected, the primary autoregulatory role of Hsp70 is to negatively regulate HSF1 transcriptional activity. These results reveal that the repression of heat shock gene transcription, which occurs during attenuation, is due to the association of Hsp70 with the HSF1 transactivation domain, thus providing a plausible explanation for the role of molecular chaperones in at least one key step in the autoregulation of the heat shock response.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Cricetinae
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • HSP40 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transcriptional Activation*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • DNAJB1 protein, human
  • HSF1 protein, human
  • HSP40 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSP90 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Transcription Factors