Human heat shock protein (hsp) 70 and bacterial protein groEL promote leakage of calcein from liposomes induced by human serum albumin signal peptide, by S. aureus α toxin or by diphtheria toxin. Hsp 70 and groEL, as well as two mycobacterial homologues hsp 71 and hsp 65, induce ion conducting pores across planar lipid bilayers at low or neutral pH. It is concluded that hsp induce pores in membranes and that this may contribute to their action within cells.

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