Review: Plant small heat shock proteins – evolutionary and functional diversity (New Phytol.)

Heat shock proteins are rapidly induced by heat treatment and were among the first plant genes and proteins characterized in the early days of molecular biology, nearly 40 years ago. Waters and Vierling review the family of small heat shock proteins (sHSPs), which has been especially amplified in plants and even more so in angiosperms. The authors discuss the domain structure of sHSPS and how they dynamically assemble into multimeric complexes. They also discuss the current model for how sHSPs function, based largely on in vitro studies. Upon heat stress, many proteins unfold, and it is thought that sHSPs interact with these unfolded proteins to promote their interaction with the ATP-dependent chaperones and permit refolding. In vivo studies lag behind in part due to gene redundancy. There is also a role for sHSPs in seeds which may have contribute to desiccation tolerance. (Summary by Mary Williams @PlantTeaching) New Phytol. 10.1111/nph.16536