Published Date2020-01-01
JournalThe Journal of pathology, 2020-01-01, Volume 250 Find other publications in this journal
Author Info
  • Department of Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of Maryland at Baltimore-Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology (IMET), Columbus Center, Baltimore, MD, USA.


Molecular chaperones, many of which are heat shock proteins (Hsps), are components of the chaperoning system and when defective can cause disease, the chaperonopathies. Chaperone-gene variants cause genetic chaperonopathies, whereas in the acquired chaperonopathies the genes are normal, but their protein products are not, due to aberrant post-transcriptional mechanisms, e.g. post-translational modifications (PTMs). Since the chaperoning system is widespread in the body, chaperonopathies affect various tissues and organs, making these diseases of interest to a wide range of medical specialties. Genetic chaperonopathies are uncommon but the acquired ones are frequent, encompassing various types of cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune disorders. The clinical picture of chaperonopathies is known. Much less is known on the impact that pathogenic mutations and PTMs have on the properties and functions of chaperone molecules. Elucidation of these molecular alterations is necessary for understanding the mechanisms underpinning the tissue and organ abnormalities occurring in patients. To illustrate this issue, we discuss structural-functional alterations caused by mutation in the chaperones CCT5 and HSPA9, and PTM effects on Hsp60. The data provide insights into what may happen when CCT5 and HSPA9 malfunction in patients, e.g. accumulation of cytotoxic protein aggregates with tissue destruction; or for Hsp60 with aberrant PTM, degradation and/or secretion of the chaperonin with mitochondrial damage. These and other possibilities are now open for investigation. © 2019 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.