Molecular chaperones as HSF1-specific transcriptional repressors

Yanhong Shi, Dick D. Mosser, Richard I. Morimoto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

503 Scopus citations


The rapid yet transient transcriptional activation of heat shock genes is mediated by the reversible conversion of HSF1 from an inert negatively regulated monomer to a transcriptionally active DNA-binding trimer. During attenuation of the heat shock response, transcription of heat shock genes returns to basal levels and HSF1 reverts to an inert monomer. These events coincide with elevated levels of Hsp70 and other heat shock proteins (molecular chaperones). Here, we show that the molecular chaperone Hsp70 and the cochaperone Hdj1 interact directly with the transactivation domain of HSF1 and repress heat shock gene transcription. Overexpression of either chaperone represses the transcriptional activity of a transfected GAL4-HSF1 activation domain fusion protein and endogenous HSF1. As neither the activation of HSF1 DNA binding nor inducible phosphorylation of HSF1 was affected, the primary autoregulatory role of Hsp70 is to negatively regulate HSF1 transcriptional activity. These results reveal that the repression of heat shock gene transcription, which occurs during attenuation, is due to the association of Hsp70 with the HSF1 transactivation domain, thus providing a plausible explanation for the role of molecular chaperones in at least one key step in the autoregulation of the heat shock response.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)654-666
Number of pages13
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 1998


  • Activation domain
  • Autoregulation
  • Heat shock proteins
  • Hsp70
  • Transcriptional control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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