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Transcellular chaperone signaling: an organismal strategy for integrated cell stress responses
Patricija van Oosten-Hawle, Richard I. Morimoto


The ability of each cell within a metazoan to adapt to and survive environmental and physiological stress requires cellular stress-response 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.


  • Author contributions

    The authors contributed equally to this work.


    Competing interests

    The authors declare no competing financial interests.

  • Funding

    P.v.O.-H. was supported by an Erwin-Schroedinger postdoctoral fellowship by the Austrian Science Fund (FWFJ2895) and a Chicago Center for Systems Biology Postdoctoral Fellowship supported by NIGMS P50 grant (P50-GM081192) and the Chicago Biomedical Consortium with support from the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community trust. R.I.M. is supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIGMS, NIA, NINDS), the Ellison Medical Foundation, the Chicago Biomedical Consortium and the Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation. Deposited in PMC for release after 12 months.

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