Stress proteins : the biological functions in virus infection, present and challenges for target-based antiviral drug development

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Article number125
Number of pages40
Journal / PublicationSignal Transduction and Targeted Therapy
Online published13 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020



Stress proteins (SPs) including heat-shock proteins (HSPs), RNA chaperones, and ER associated stress proteins are molecular chaperones essential for cellular homeostasis. The major functions of HSPs include chaperoning misfolded or unfolded polypeptides, protecting cells from toxic stress, and presenting immune and inflammatory cytokines. Regarded as a double-edged sword, HSPs also cooperate with numerous viruses and cancer cells to promote their survival. RNA chaperones are a group of heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoproteins (hnRNPs), which are essential factors for manipulating both the functions and metabolisms of pre-mRNAs/hnRNAs transcribed by RNA polymerase II. hnRNPs involve in a large number of cellular processes, including chromatin remodelling, transcription regulation, RNP assembly and stabilization, RNA export, virus replication, histone-like nucleoid structuring, and even intracellular immunity. Dysregulation of stress proteins is associated with many human diseases including human cancer, cardiovascular diseases, neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Parkinson's diseases, Alzheimer disease), stroke and infectious diseases. In this review, we summarized the biologic function of stress proteins, and current progress on their mechanisms related to virus reproduction and diseases caused by virus infections. As SPs also attract a great interest as potential antiviral targets (e.g., COVID-19), we also discuss the present progress and challenges in this area of HSP-based drug development, as well as with compounds already under clinical evaluation.

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