In our laboratory, we are interested in the mammalian heat shock factors (HSFs). HSFs are stress-responsive transcription factors that enable cells to survive under various proteotoxic conditions, such as elevated temperatures or in the presence of heavy metals. Protein-damaging conditions activate HSFs to initiate the transcription of genes coding for heat shock proteins (Hsps). Hsps, in turn, function as molecular chaperones by helping cells to prevent the formation of protein aggregates. Among the four members of the mammalian HSF family (HSF1-4), our laboratory focuses on the biology of HSF1 and HSF2. Importantly, the roles of HSF1 and HSF2 are not limited to stress responses alone, since they function also in development, differentiation and aging as well as many diseases, including cancer progression.


Selected publications:

HSF1 at a glance.
Vihervaara A, Sistonen L.
J Cell Sci. 2014 Jan 15;127(Pt 2):261-6.

Regulation of HSF1 function in the heat stress response: implications in aging and disease.
Anckar J, Sistonen L.
Annu Rev Biochem. 2011;80:1089-115.

Regulation of the members of the mammalian heat shock factor family.
Björk JK, Sistonen L.
FEBS J. 2010 Oct;277(20):4126-39.

Heat shock factors: integrators of cell stress, development and lifespan.
Åkerfelt M, Morimoto RI, Sistonen L.
Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2010 Aug;11(8):545-55.