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Letters to Nature
Nature 293, 311 - 314 (24 September 1981); doi:10.1038/293311a0

Regulation of protein synthesis during heat shock

Susan Lindquist

Department of Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60637, USA

When the cells or tissues of most eukaryotes are exposed to elevated temperatures, they respond with the vigorous induction of a small number of ‘heat shock’ proteins (hsps). I report here investigations on the responses of two very different organisms, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Although both organisms achieve a very rapid shift in protein synthesis, they do so in very different ways. In Drosophila, heat shock induces a mechanism of translational control which both promotes the translation of hs mRNAs and specifically represses the translation of pre-existing mRNAs. Yeast cells, in contrast, do not possess a special mechanism to sequester pre-existing messages from translation. Instead, most of these messages simply disappear rapidly from the cell, while those that are retained continue to be translated.

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