The role of Hsp70 in the regulation of autophagy in gametogenesis, pregnancy, and parturition
HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
Induction of the 70 kDa heat shock protein (hsp70) and autophagy are two major mechanisms that promote cell homeostasis during the rapid cell growth and differentiation characteristic of reproduction. Hsp70 insures proper assembly, conformation, and intracellular transport of nascent proteins. Autophagy removes from the cytoplasm proteins, other macromolecules, and organelles that are no longer functional or needed and recycles their components for synthesis of new products under nutritionally limiting conditions. Hsp70 inhibits autophagy and so a proper balance between these two processes is essential for optimal germ cell production and survival and pregnancy progression. A marked inhibition in autophagy and a concomitant increase in hsp70 at term is a trigger for parturition. Excessive external or endogenous stress that induces a high level of hsp70 production can lead to a non-physiological inhibition of autophagy, resulting in altered spermatogenesis, premature ovarian failure, and complications of pregnancy including preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, and preterm birth.