Stress proteins, also known as heat shock proteins or molecular chaperones, are ubiquitous, and confer cells stress resistance and the maintenance of cellular homeostasis. Their functions, molecular structure, and their importance to current medical applications have been reviewed. Mutation in the genome coding of an αβ-crystallin, small-stress protein specifically expressed in muscles has been found to cause desmin-related myopathy. Stress proteins are also involved in the pathogenesis of prion disease, ischemic disease, atherosclerosis and others. New drugs that induce or strengthen stress protein expression are being developed against a background of high expectations
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