Skip navigation

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

URL of this page:

HSPB8 gene

heat shock protein family B (small) member 8

Normal Function

The HSPB8 gene provides instructions for making a protein called heat shock protein beta-8 (also called heat shock protein 22). This protein is a member of the heat shock protein family, which helps protect cells under adverse conditions such as infection, inflammation, exposure to toxins, elevated temperature, injury, and disease. Heat shock proteins block signals that lead to programmed cell death. In addition, they appear to be involved in activities such as cell movement (motility), stabilizing the cell's structural framework (the cytoskeleton), folding and stabilizing newly produced proteins, and repairing damaged proteins. Heat shock proteins also appear to play a role in the tensing of muscle fibers (muscle contraction).

Heat shock protein beta-8 is found in cells throughout the body and is particularly abundant in nerve cells. While its function is not well understood, it seems to interact with a related protein called heat shock protein beta-1, produced from the HSPB1 gene. In nerve cells, heat shock protein beta-1 helps to organize a network of molecular threads called neurofilaments that maintain the diameter of specialized extensions called axons. Maintaining proper axon diameter is essential for the efficient transmission of nerve impulses. The specific role that heat shock protein beta-8 plays in axons is unclear.

Health Conditions Related to Genetic Changes

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

MedlinePlus Genetics provides information about Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease

More About This Health Condition

Distal hereditary motor neuropathy, type II

Researchers have identified at least five HSPB8 gene mutations that cause a condition called distal hereditary motor neuropathy, type II. This disorder is characterized by progressive weakness, primarily in the feet and legs.

It is unclear how HSPB8 gene mutations lead to the signs and symptoms of distal hereditary motor neuropathy, type II. Research suggests that the altered heat shock protein beta-8 interacts more strongly with heat shock protein beta-1 and is more likely to form clumps (aggregates). The aggregates may block the transport of substances that are essential for the proper function of nerve axons, leading to the signs and symptoms of distal hereditary motor neuropathy, type II.

More About This Health Condition

Other Names for This Gene

  • CMT2L
  • DHMN2
  • E2-induced gene 1
  • E2IG1
  • H11
  • heat shock 22kDa protein 8
  • heat shock 27kDa protein 8
  • heat shock protein beta-8
  • HMN2
  • HMN2A
  • HSP22
  • HspB8
  • protein kinase H11
  • small stress protein-like protein HSP22

Additional Information & Resources

Tests Listed in the Genetic Testing Registry

Scientific Articles on PubMed

Catalog of Genes and Diseases from OMIM

Gene and Variant Databases


  • Bird TD. Charcot-Marie-Tooth Hereditary Neuropathy Overview. 1998 Sep 28 [updated 2024 Apr 25]. In: Adam MP, Feldman J, Mirzaa GM, Pagon RA, Wallace SE, Bean LJH, Gripp KW, Amemiya A, editors. GeneReviews(R) [Internet]. Seattle (WA): University of Washington, Seattle; 1993-2024. Available from Citation on PubMed
  • Datskevich PN, Nefedova VV, Sudnitsyna MV, Gusev NB. Mutations of small heat shock proteins and human congenital diseases. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2012 Dec;77(13):1500-14. doi: 10.1134/S0006297912130081. Citation on PubMed
  • Dierick I, Baets J, Irobi J, Jacobs A, De Vriendt E, Deconinck T, Merlini L, Van den Bergh P, Rasic VM, Robberecht W, Fischer D, Morales RJ, Mitrovic Z, Seeman P, Mazanec R, Kochanski A, Jordanova A, Auer-Grumbach M, Helderman-van den Enden AT, Wokke JH, Nelis E, De Jonghe P, Timmerman V. Relative contribution of mutations in genes for autosomal dominant distal hereditary motor neuropathies: a genotype-phenotype correlation study. Brain. 2008 May;131(Pt 5):1217-27. doi: 10.1093/brain/awn029. Epub 2008 Mar 5. Citation on PubMed
  • Drew AP, Blair IP, Nicholson GA. Molecular genetics and mechanisms of disease in distal hereditary motor neuropathies: insights directing future genetic studies. Curr Mol Med. 2011 Nov;11(8):650-65. doi: 10.2174/156652411797536714. Citation on PubMed
  • Fontaine JM, Sun X, Hoppe AD, Simon S, Vicart P, Welsh MJ, Benndorf R. Abnormal small heat shock protein interactions involving neuropathy-associated HSP22 (HSPB8) mutants. FASEB J. 2006 Oct;20(12):2168-70. doi: 10.1096/fj.06-5911fje. Epub 2006 Aug 25. Citation on PubMed
  • Hu Z, Chen L, Zhang J, Li T, Tang J, Xu N, Wang X. Structure, function, property, and role in neurologic diseases and other diseases of the sHsp22. J Neurosci Res. 2007 Aug 1;85(10):2071-9. doi: 10.1002/jnr.21231. Citation on PubMed
  • Irobi J, Van Impe K, Seeman P, Jordanova A, Dierick I, Verpoorten N, Michalik A, De Vriendt E, Jacobs A, Van Gerwen V, Vennekens K, Mazanec R, Tournev I, Hilton-Jones D, Talbot K, Kremensky I, Van Den Bosch L, Robberecht W, Van Vandekerckhove J, Van Broeckhoven C, Gettemans J, De Jonghe P, Timmerman V. Hot-spot residue in small heat-shock protein 22 causes distal motor neuropathy. Nat Genet. 2004 Jun;36(6):597-601. doi: 10.1038/ng1328. Epub 2004 May 2. Citation on PubMed
  • Nefedova VV, Muranova LK, Sudnitsyna MV, Ryzhavskaya AS, Gusev NB. Small Heat Shock Proteins and Distal Hereditary Neuropathies. Biochemistry (Mosc). 2015 Dec;80(13):1734-47. doi: 10.1134/S000629791513009X. Citation on PubMed
  • Shemetov AA, Seit-Nebi AS, Gusev NB. Structure, properties, and functions of the human small heat-shock protein HSP22 (HspB8, H11, E2IG1): a critical review. J Neurosci Res. 2008 Feb 1;86(2):264-9. doi: 10.1002/jnr.21441. Citation on PubMed
  • Tang BS, Zhao GH, Luo W, Xia K, Cai F, Pan Q, Zhang RX, Zhang FF, Liu XM, Chen B, Zhang C, Shen L, Jiang H, Long ZG, Dai HP. Small heat-shock protein 22 mutated in autosomal dominant Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease type 2L. Hum Genet. 2005 Feb;116(3):222-4. doi: 10.1007/s00439-004-1218-3. Epub 2004 Nov 23. Citation on PubMed

The information on this site should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care or advice. Contact a health care provider if you have questions about your health.