Heat-shock transcription factor (HSF)-1 pathway required for Caenorhabditis elegans immunity

Varsha Singh, Alejandro Aballay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations


Innate immunity comprises physical barriers, pattern-recognition receptors, antimicrobial substances, phagocytosis, and fever. Here we report that increased temperature results in the activation of a conserved pathway involving the heat-shock (HS) transcription factor (HSF)-1 that enhances immunity in the invertebrate Caenorhabditis elegans. The HSF-1 defense response is independent of the p38 MAPK/PMK-1 pathway and requires a system of chaperones including small and 90-kDa inducible HS proteins. In addition, HSF-1 is needed for the effects of the DAF-2 insulin-like pathway in defense to pathogens, indicating that interacting pathways control stress response, aging, and immunity. The results also show that HSF-1 is required for C. elegans immunity against Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella enterica, Yersinia pestis, and Enterococcus faecalis, indicating that HSF-1 is part of a multipathogen defense pathway. Considering that several coinducers of HSF-1 are currently in clinical trials, this work opens the possibility that activation of HSF-1 could be used to boost immunity to treat infectious diseases and immunodeficiencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13092-13097
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 29 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Heat-shock protein
  • Infection
  • Innate immunity
  • MAPK
  • Pathogen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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