Demolition Crew Gets a Hand From Chaperones

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Science  21 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5576, pp. 2125
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5576.2125

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The biochemical machinery that responds to certain hormones is so large and seemingly cumbersome that researchers have long wondered how it manages to react quickly to changes in hormone concentrations. New results, described on page 2232, suggest a solution that might provide a new role in regulating gene expression for the proteins known as chaperones. The work indicates that the chaperone proteins p23 and Hsp90 help disassemble regulatory complexes shortly after they form on the DNA. When thus released, the receptor can detect when hormone levels fall off--a feedback needed to tell the regulatory complex to stop overseeing the genes.