Transcellular chaperone signaling: An organismal strategy for integrated cell stress responses

Patricija Van Oosten-Hawle, Richard I. Morimoto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


The ability of each cell within a metazoan to adapt to and survive environmental and physiological stress requires cellular stressresponse mechanisms, such as the heat shock response (HSR). Recent advances reveal that cellular proteostasis and stress responses in metazoans are regulated by multiple layers of intercellular communication. This ensures that an imbalance of proteostasis that occurs within any single tissue 'at risk' is protected by a compensatory activation of a stress response in adjacent tissues that confers a community protective response. While each cell expresses the machinery for heat shock (HS) gene expression, the HSR is regulated cell non-autonomously in multicellular organisms, by neuronal signaling to the somatic tissues, and by transcellular chaperone signaling between somatic tissues and from somatic tissues to neurons. These cell non-autonomous processes ensure that the organismal HSR is orchestrated across multiple tissues and that transmission of stress signals between tissues can also override the neuronal control to reset cell- and tissue-specific proteostasis. Here, we discuss emerging concepts and insights into the complex cell non-autonomous mechanisms that control stress responses in metazoans and highlight the importance of intercellular communication for proteostasis maintenance in multicellular organisms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-136
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014


  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Cell non-Autonomous
  • Chaperones
  • Metazoans
  • Proteostasis
  • Stress response

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science

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