Small Molecule Activators of the Heat Shock Response: Chemical Properties, Molecular Targets, and Therapeutic Promise

Publication Date


Document Type





All cells have developed various mechanisms to respond and adapt to a variety of environmental challenges, including stresses that damage cellular proteins. One such response, the heat shock response (HSR), leads to the transcriptional activation of a family of molecular chaperone proteins that promote proper folding or clearance of damaged proteins within the cytosol. In addition to its role in protection against acute insults, the HSR also regulates lifespan and protects against protein misfolding that is associated with degenerative diseases of aging. As a result, identifying pharmacological regulators of the HSR has become an active area of research in recent years. Here, we review progress made in identifying small molecule activators of the HSR, what cellular targets these compounds interact with to drive response activation, and how such molecules may ultimately be employed to delay or reverse protein misfolding events that contribute to a number of diseases. © 2012 American Chemical Society.

Published Version