heat shock proteins

What is Heat Shock Protein?

Heat shock proteins (HSP) are a family of proteins that are produced by cells in response to exposure to stressful conditions. They were first described in relation to heat shock, but are now known to also be expressed during other stresses including exposure to cold, UV light, and during wound healing or tissue remodeling. Many members of this group perform chaperone function by stabilizing new proteins to ensure correct folding or by helping to refold proteins that were damaged by the cell stress. This increase in expression is transcriptionally regulated. The dramatic upregulation of the heat shock proteins is a key part of the heat shock response and is induced primarily by heat shock factor (HSF).HSPs are found in virtually all living organisms, from bacteria to humans.

Heat-shock proteins are named according to their molecular weight. For example, Hsp60, Hsp70 and Hsp90 (the most widely studied HSPs) refer to families of heat shock proteins on the order of 60, 70, and 90 kilodaltons in size, respectively. The small 8-kilodalton protein ubiquitin, which marks proteins for degradation, also has features of a heat shock protein.

Upregulation in Stress – Production of high levels of heat shock proteins can also be triggered by exposure to different kinds of environmental stress conditions, such as infection, inflammation, exercise, exposure of the cell to toxins (ethanol, arsenic, trace metals, and ultraviolet light, among many others), starvation, hypoxia (oxygen deprivation), nitrogen deficiency (in plants), or water deprivation. As a consequence, the heat shock proteins are also referred to as stress proteins and their upregulation is sometimes described more generally as part of the stress response.
Role as Chaperone – Several heat shock proteins function as intra-cellular chaperones for other proteins. They play an important role in protein–protein interactions such as folding and assisting in the establishment of proper protein conformation (shape) and prevention of unwanted protein aggregation. By helping to stabilize partially unfolded proteins, HSPs aid in transporting proteins across membranes within the cell.
Cardiovascular – Heat shock proteins appear to serve a significant cardiovascular role. Hsp90, hsp84, hsp70, hsp27, hsp20, and alpha B crystallin all have been reported as having roles in the cardio-vasculature.

Immunity – Extracellular and membrane bound heat-shock proteins, especially Hsp70 are involved in binding antigens and presenting them to the immune system.


For the most part, people don’t like to get hot. The massive indoor climate control systems and pleasantly chilled water fountains found in most gyms speak to this fact. But here’s the surprise: increasing your core temperature for short bursts is not only healthful; it can also dramatically improve performance.

The Effects of Heat Acclimation on Endurance

If you’ve ever run long distances or exercised for endurance, it’s intuitive that increased body temperature will ultimately induce strain, attenuate your endurance performance, and accelerating exhaustion. What might not be as intuitive is this: acclimating yourself to heat independent of aerobic physical activity through sauna use induces adaptations that reduce the later strain of your primary aerobic activity.
Just a few of the physiological adaptations that occur are:
• Improved cardiovascular mechanisms and lower heart rate.
• Lower core body temperature during workload (surprise!)
• Higher sweat rate and sweat sensitivity as a function of increased thermoregulatory control.
• Increased blood flow to skeletal muscle (known as muscle perfusion) and other tissues.
• Reduced rate of glycogen depletion due to improved muscle perfusion.
• Increased red blood cell count (likely via erythropoietin).
• Increased efficiency of oxygen transport to muscles.

This YouTube Video below by Rhonda Perciavalle Patrick, Ph.d., conducts clinical trials, performed aging research at Slk Instutuide for Biological Studies, and did gradate research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where she focused on cancer, mitochondrial metabolism, and aposptosis.

So How does this tie in with Hot Yoga?

Recent studies showed that putting your body through mild and temporary stress, like visiting the sauna, going for a run, practicing hot yoga – is good for your health and even helps you endure more severe kinds of stress later on.
Why Beginner 26 Ghosh Yoga (Bikram Method)?
A Bikram Yoga class is the ultimate controlled environment to witness these adaptations because it is the same sequence day after day, and the temperature and humidity are fairly consistent. A common thing you often hear within the Bikram community is “the yoga doesn’t change, you change”. You could see small changes day after day. You will also like that you won’t have to plan it out or hire a personal trainer. No more wasting membership at the gym where you just wander around aimlessly from machine to machine, probably using them all wrong. With the 26 postures, you just show up, and you get your 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises. And It’s 90 minutes of continuous dialogue to guide you, align you, and refine you.

Take advantage of our new student intro $75 for one month of Unlimited Yoga.

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