Shocked Out of Shape

Contrary to previous assumptions, the vast majority of proteins return to their normal configurations after a heat stress.

Karen Zusi
Nov 30, 2015


Exogenous proteins in a cell denature and aggregate in misfolded clumps when heat-shocked. During cell recovery, specialized molecular chaperone proteins degrade and dispose of the aggregates. A small portion of the exogenous proteins may refold, escaping degradation


Mature endogenous proteins aggregate in an organized fashion when heat-shocked, remodeling the cell’s protein synthesis machinery to facilitate survival. During recovery, molecular chaperones free the mature proteins to resume their normal activity

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