Biochemistry. Group of proteins which play a role in response to hyperthermia and other environmental stresses. They increase thermal tolerance and perform functions essential to cell survival under these conditions. Some heat shock proteins serve to stabilize other proteins in their configuration (chaperones).
Notation according to Cold Spring Harbor Meeting in 1996: Hsp (first letter capitalized) refers to the protein, hsp (lower case letters) to the gene. HSP (capitals) denotes the family in a certain range of molecular weight, e.g., HSP70 between 70 and 78 kDa.