Stress induces the synthesis of several large and small heat shock proteins (hsp's). Two related small hsp's, hsp25 and alpha B crystallin exist in mice. alpha B crystallin is an abundant protein in several tissues even in the absence of stress. Particularly high amounts accumulate in the eye lens. Here we show that hsp25 is likewise constitutively expressed in many normal adult tissues. In the absence of stress the protein is most abundant in the eye lens, heart, stomach, colon, lung, and bladder. The stress-independent expression pattern of the two small hsp's is distinct. In several tissues the amount of hsp25 exceeds that accumulating in NIH 3T3 fibroblasts in response to heat stress. hsp25, like alpha B crystallin, exists in a highly aggregated form in the eye lens. The expression of hsp25 and alpha B crystallin in normal tissues suggests an essential, but distinct function of the two related proteins under standard physiological conditions.

This content is only available as a PDF.