Study of the heat stress response has led us to realize the extraordinary importance of controlling the state of protein folding in the cell. Organisms have evolved multiple, graded responses to cope with this problem. The thermometers that calibrate the response to the level of stress are composed of different materials. However, almost all of them are induced, at least in part, by unfolded proteins and respond by overex-pressing a set of universally conserved heat shock proteins. Currently, many, but not all, of the types of responses to heat stress have been identified. However, on the most basic level, the way in which the thermometer controls the gradual response to temperature is not really understood for any system. Moreover, the interaction of the various heat responsive systems with each other has not yet been studied.
Clearly, considerably more will be learned about this response in the next few years.
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