Perception of stress and the mechanisms of molecular chaperones

Our research is focused on molecular chaperones, proteins that assist the (un)folding of other proteins in the cell. Many molecular chaperones are stress-induced proteins. During and following stress, such as heat-shock, they are involved in the prevention of protein misfolding and aggregation in the cell. Hence, the chaperone network provides central mechanisms for the protection and the recovery from damaged proteins in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.

We are also interested in the mechanism for perception of heat-stress in plants. Plants need to rapidly detect mild temperature increments and develop thermotolerance by establishing appropriate molecular defenses against upcoming noxious temperatures. We found strong biochemical evidence that specific plasma membrane calcium channels act as the most upstream heat-sensors in the moss Physcomitrella patens. Currently, we are studying plant genes that are involved in the initial sensing of higher temperatures.

Our long-term goal is to understand heat-shock signaling and chaperone network, in order to prevent protein misfolding and promote the active curing of toxic protein aggregates, especially in the case of protein misfolding diseases.


Recent Publications

  • Emerging fields in chaperone proteins: A French workshop
    Mileo, Elisabetta; Ilbert, Marianne; Barducci, Alessandro; et al.
    BIOCHIMIE 151:159-165  10.1016/j.biochi.2018.06.004 AUG 2018
  • Chaperones convert the energy from ATP into the nonequilibrium stabilization of native proteins
    Goloubinoff, Pierre; Sassi, Alberto S.; Fauvet, Bruno; et al.
    NATURE CHEMICAL BIOLOGY  14(4): 388-+   10.1038/s41589-018-0013-8 APR 2018
  • The growing world of small heat shock proteins: from structure to functions 
    Carra, Serena; Alberti, Simon; Arrigo, Patrick A.; et al. 
    CELL STRESS & CHAPERONES, 22 (4): 601-611 10.1007/s12192-017-0787-8 JUL 2017
  • Cadmium causes misfolding and aggregation of cytosolic proteins in yeast.
    Jacobson T., Priya S., Sharma SK., Andersson S., Jakobsson S., Tanghe R., Ashouri A., Rauch S., Goloubinoff P., Christen P. and Tamás MJ.
    Mol Cell Biol. 2017 Aug 11;37(17). pii: e00490-16. DOI:10.1128/MCB.00490-16
  • Hsp70 chaperones use ATP to remodel native protein oligomers and stable aggregates by entropic pulling 
    De Los Rios, Paolo; Goloubinoff, Pierre 
    NATURE STRUCTURAL & MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, 23 (9): 766-769 10.1038/nsmb.3283  SEP 2016  (Details)
  • Quantitative proteomics of rat livers shows that unrestricted feeding is stressful for proteostasis with implications on life span 
    Gat-Yablonski, Galia; Finka, Andrija; Pinto, Galit; et al. 
    AGING-US, 8 (8): 1735-1758 10.18632/aging.101009  AUG 2016
  • Experimental Milestones in the Discovery of Molecular Chaperones as Polypeptide Unfolding Enzymes 
    Finka, Andrija; Mattoo, Rayees U. H.; Goloubinoff, Pierre 
    ANNUAL REVIEW OF BIOCHEMISTRY, VOL 85, 85: 715-742 2016 Review; Book Chapter (Details)
Goloubinoff Pierre

Prof. Dr. Pierre Goloubinoff
University of Lausanne
Department of Plant Molecular Biology
1015 Lausanne

Tel: +41 (0)21 692 42 32

Research topics

  • Plant temperature sensing and acquired thermotolerance
  • Chaperone unfolding mechanism



  • Disaggregation of toxic alpha synuclein oligomers by chaperones