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Preface/Front Matter

R. I. Morimoto, A. Tissières, C. Georgopoulos


The heat shock response was originally described as a phenomenon of inducible gene expression in Drosophila and has rapidly become a widely studied adaptive response to a diverse array of environmental conditions that cause physiological stress. Initial studies on the heat shock proteins concentrated almost entirely on the cloning and characterization of Drosophila heat shock gene expression. The convergence of studies utilizing higher eukaryotes and prokaryotes revealed that the heat shock or stress response was ubiquitous and, furthermore, that the genes encoding these highly conserved heat shock proteins were closely related to the level of nucleotide sequences. More recently, the field of stress protein research has grown and diversified. Studies on stress proteins now encompass questions in molecular biology of gene expression on the complexity of signals that control the transcriptional regulation of stress genes, in cell biology on the role of stress proteins as chaperones that regulate aspects of protein folding and transport, in immunobiology and infectious diseases on the involvement of stress proteins in the immune response during tissue damage and infectious disease, and in pathophysiology and medicine on the role of the stress response in human disease. The role of the stress response in human disease is unclear, yet there is every expectation that aberrant expression of stress proteins during diseases including hypertrophy, fever, inflammation, infection with pathogens, ischemic recovery, tissue trauma, hyperthermia, and certain forms of neoplasia will have useful predictive and diagnostic value. This monograph represents a selective representation of some themes in the field

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