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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 564136, 17 pages
Review Article

Synergistic Effects of Toxic Elements on Heat Shock Proteins

1Department of Biology, Government Post-Graduate College Asghar Mall, Rawalpindi, Pakistan
2Department of Natural Resource Engineering and Management, University of Kurdistan-Hawler Erbil, Kurdistan Region, Iraq
3Department of Environmental Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Abbottabad 22060, Pakistan

Received 23 November 2013; Revised 24 May 2014; Accepted 17 June 2014; Published 20 July 2014

Academic Editor: Abhik Gupta

Copyright © 2014 Khalid Mahmood et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Heat shock proteins show remarkable variations in their expression levels under a variety of toxic conditions. A research span expanded over five decades has revealed their molecular characterization, gene regulation, expression patterns, vast similarity in diverse groups, and broad range of functional capabilities. Their functions include protection and tolerance against cytotoxic conditions through their molecular chaperoning activity, maintaining cytoskeleton stability, and assisting in cell signaling. However, their role as biomarkers for monitoring the environmental risk assessment is controversial due to a number of conflicting, validating, and nonvalidating reports. The current knowledge regarding the interpretation of HSPs expression levels has been discussed in the present review. The candidature of heat shock proteins as biomarkers of toxicity is thus far unreliable due to synergistic effects of toxicants and other environmental factors. The adoption of heat shock proteins as “suit of biomarkers in a set of organisms” requires further investigation.