Heat shock genes encode proteins (hsp's) that play important structural roles under normal circumstances and are essential to the cells' ability to survive environmental insults. Evidence is presented herein that transcriptional regulation of hsp gene expression is linked with the regulation of overall protein synthesis as well as with the accumulation of proteins denatured by stressful events. The factor that connects the three processes appears to be one of the hsp's, presumably a member(s) of the hsp70 family. Biochemical experiments demonstrate that complexes containing hsp70 and heat shock transcription factor, the specific regulator of hsp gene activity, are formed in the cells.

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