Heat shock proteins were initially described as the predominant proteins expressed immediately after a thermal stress. These ubiquitously expressed proteins function as molecular chaperones; they aid in the folding, subcellular translocation, and assembly of other proteins. Although most of these proteins are expressed constitutively, enhanced expression, induced by stress or genetic manipulations, can reduce subsequent cellular injury in many cell types, including neurons and glia. Further understanding of how the expression of these proteins is controlled in the nervous system, and how they can be manipulated to attenuate injury, could provide therapeutic targets for cerebral ischemia and neurodegenerative disorders.
- Heat shock