The Heat is On: Heat Shock Proteins and the Link to Cancer

Mon, 10/25/2010 - 07:09

Novus Biologicals offers an extensive antibody catalog targeting heat shock proteins (HSPs). A large protein group covering a number of families, the HSPs are functionally related by their dramatic upregulation in response to stress. Stress triggers may include a rise in temperature or a similar environmental cause. Transcription is controlled by the heat shock factor, or HSF, protein family.

The heat shock proteins are found in all living organisms including bacteria and yeasts. They are of particular interest to oncology researchers as they are implicated in a number of cancers, in particular breast cancer – one of the biggest killers of women in the UK. The heat shock molecules on our antibody database are identified by the prefix HSP, followed by their molecular weight, which can range from 27 to over 140 kilodaltons in size. The three most widely studied proteins are Hsp60, Hsp70 and Hsp90. It’s worth noting that other proteins, such as the small 8kd ubiquitin, which is involved in cell death and protein degradation, can also show a heat shock response.

Western Blot: Hsp27 Antibody

It is thought HSPs are activated in response to mutations or damage to other proteins within the cell, as they function mainly as “chaperones”, assisting in protein folding, conformation, protein-to-protein communication, etc. Studies using Hsp90 antibodies have revealed that this family stabilizes protein unfolding at times of non-physiological stress. However, under normal circumstances it plays a key regulatory role in fundamental processes such as mitosis and cell signalling. It has been shown to act as a stabilizer of oncogenes, such as v-Src and mutated p53. The Hsp90 antibodies we at Novus Biologicals have on our antibody database are widely used in cancer research.


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