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Heat-shock proteins

Similar term(s): stress proteins, HSPs.

Definition:

Heat shock proteins (HSPs), also called stress proteins, are a group of proteins that are present in all cells in all life forms. They are induced when a cell undergoes various types of environmental stresses like heat, cold and oxygen deprivation.

More:

Heat shock proteins are also present in cells under perfectly normal conditions. They act like ‘chaperones,’ making sure that the cell’s proteins are in the right shape and in the right place at the right time. For example, HSPs help new or distorted proteins fold into shape, which is essential for their function. They also shuttle proteins from one compartment to another inside the cell, and transport old proteins to ‘garbage disposals’ inside the cell. Heat shock proteins are also believed to play a role in the presentation of pieces of proteins (or peptides) on the cell surface to help the immune system recognize diseased cells.

Source: Antigenics Heat shock proteins: basics  

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