Intracellular expression of heat-shock-protein 70 (HSP70) arose early in evolutionary development as a tool to protect cellular homeostasis. HSP70 detects proteins that are incorrectly folded or denatured. They form a complex with such proteins which can lead to correct folding, compartmentalization in organelles, or to proteolytic degradation. HSP70 also appears to protect proteins from degeneration. Intracellular HSP70-expression is induced by a wide variety of stimuli including heat, fever, hypoxia, oxygen radicals, endotoxins, cytokines, and heavy metal ions. Pre-emptive induction of HSP70-expression reduces organ dysfunction and mortality in animal models of sepsis.
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