Redefining the Chaperone Mechanism of sHsps: Not Just Holdase Chaperones

Part of the Heat Shock Proteins book series (HESP, volume 8)


The small heat-shock proteins (sHsps) are molecular chaperones that play a fundamental role in maintaining cellular protein homeostasis (proteostasis) by preventing the aggregation of destabilised proteins. They are generally described as ‘holdase’ type chaperones since they have the ability to bind partially folded intermediate states of target proteins, in an ATP-independent manner, and, in doing so, they can form high molecular weight complexes with some of them. However, recent work has shown that the ability of sHsps to interact with target proteins is multi-faceted. This review highlights the mechanisms by which sHsps can interact with aggregation-prone target proteins and proposes that they should be considered as protein ‘stabilisers’ rather than ‘holdase’ chaperones.


Protein aggregation Heat shock proteins Amyloid fibrils Proteostasis Crystallin 



Reduced and carboxymethylated


Reduced and carboxymethylated α-lactalbumin


small Heat shock protein(s).








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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute and School of Biological SciencesUniversity of WollongongWollongongAustralia

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