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1.  A Cytosolic Relay of Heat Shock Proteins HSP70-1A and HSP90β Monitors the Folding Trajectory of the Serotonin Transporter* 
The Journal of Biological Chemistry  2014;289(42):28987-29000.
Background: Naturally occurring mutations in solute carrier 6 (SLC6) family members impair folding of these transporters.
Results: Folding-deficient SERT mutants bound heat shock protein (HSP)70-1A, HSP90β, and co-chaperones. Noribogaine synergized with HSP inhibitors in rescuing these SERT mutants.
Conclusion: Folding of SERT is assisted by a cytosolic HSP relay.
Significance: The folding trajectory of SERT is relevant to folding diseases arising from mutated SLC6 transporters.
Mutations in the C terminus of the serotonin transporter (SERT) disrupt folding and export from the endoplasmic reticulum. Here we examined the hypothesis that a cytosolic heat shock protein relay was recruited to the C terminus to assist folding of SERT. This conjecture was verified by the following observations. (i) The proximal portion of the SERT C terminus conforms to a canonical binding site for DnaK/heat shock protein of 70 kDa (HSP70). A peptide covering this segment stimulated ATPase activity of purified HSP70-1A. (ii) A GST fusion protein comprising the C terminus of SERT pulled down HSP70-1A. The interaction between HSP70-1A and SERT was visualized in live cells by Förster resonance energy transfer: it was restricted to endoplasmic reticulum-resident transporters and enhanced by an inhibitor that traps HSP70-1A in its closed state. (iv) Co-immunoprecipitation confirmed complex formation of SERT with HSP70-1A and HSP90β. Consistent with an HSP relay, co-chaperones (e.g. HSC70-HSP90-organizing protein) were co-immunoprecipitated with the stalled mutants SERT-R607A/I608A and SERT-P601A/G602A. (v) Depletion of HSP90β by siRNA or its inhibition increased the cell surface expression of wild type SERT and SERT-F604Q. In contrast, SERT-R607A/I608A and SERT-P601A/G602A were only rendered susceptible to inhibition of HSP70 and HSP90 by concomitant pharmacochaperoning with noribogaine. (vi) In JAR cells, inhibition of HSP90 also increased the levels of SERT, indicating that endogenously expressed transporter was also susceptible to control by HSP90β. These findings support the concept that the folding trajectory of SERT is sampled by a cytoplasmic chaperone relay.
PMCID: PMC4200255  PMID: 25202009
Glycosylation; Heat Shock Protein (HSP); Heat Shock Protein 90 (Hsp90); Serotonin; Serotonin Transporter; Trafficking; Transporter
2.  DnaJ-Promoted Binding of DnaK to Multiple Sites on σ32 in the Presence of ATP 
Journal of Bacteriology  2014;196(9):1694-1703.
The Escherichia coli DnaK chaperone system is a canonical heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) chaperone system comprising Hsp70, Hsp40, and a nucleotide exchange factor. Although Hsp40 is known to facilitate the effective binding of Hsp70 to substrates, the role of Hsp40 in Hsp70-substrate interactions has not yet been fully elucidated. Using the E. coli heat shock transcription factor σ32 as a substrate in the DnaK chaperone system, we here provide new insight into the Hsp70-substrate interaction. When DnaK-σ32 complexes formed under various conditions were analyzed by gel filtration, several DnaK-σ32 complexes with different molecular masses were detected. The results indicated that multiple DnaK molecules simultaneously bind to σ32, even though it has been suggested that DnaK interacts with σ32 at a molar ratio of 1:1. Two σ32 mutants, L201D σ32 and I54A σ32, which have reduced affinities for DnaK and DnaJ (Hsp40), respectively, were used to further characterize DnaK-σ32 complex formation. Pulldown assays demonstrated that the affinity of I54A σ32 for DnaK was similar to that of wild-type σ32 in the absence of DnaJ, whereas L201D σ32 exhibited an extremely low affinity for DnaK. However, in the presence of ATP and DnaJ, the yield of DnaK eluted with L201D σ32 was much higher than that eluted with I54A σ32. These results indicate that there are multiple DnaK binding sites on σ32 and that DnaJ strongly promotes DnaK binding to any site in the presence of ATP, regardless of the intrinsic affinity of DnaK for the site.
PMCID: PMC3993318  PMID: 24532774
3.  An interdomain sector mediating allostery in Hsp70 molecular chaperones 
The Hsp70 family of molecular chaperones provides a well defined and experimentally powerful model system for understanding allosteric coupling between different protein domains.New extensions to the statistical coupling analysis (SCA) method permit identification of a group of co-evolving amino-acid positions—a sector—in the Hsp70 that is associated with allosteric function.Literature-based and new experimental studies support the notion that the protein sector identified through SCA underlies the allosteric mechanism of Hsp70.This work extends the concept of protein sectors by showing that two non-homologous protein domains can share a single sector when the underlying biological function is defined by the coupled activity of the two domains.
Allostery is a biologically critical property by which distantly positioned functional surfaces on proteins functionally interact. This property remains difficult to elucidate at a mechanistic level (Smock and Gierasch, 2009) because long-range coupling within proteins arises from the cooperative action of groups of amino acids. As a case study, consider the Hsp70 molecular chaperones, a large and diverse family of two-domain allosteric proteins required for cellular viability in nearly every organism (Figure 1) (Mayer and Bukau, 2005). In the ADP-bound state, the two domains act independently, the C-terminal substrate-binding domain displays a stable configuration in which the so-called ‘lid' region is docked against the β-sandwich subdomain, and substrates bind with relatively high affinity (Figure 1A) (Moro et al, 2003; Swain et al, 2007; Bertelsen et al, 2009). Exchange of ADP for ATP in the N-terminal nucleotide-binding domain causes significant local and propagated conformational change, formation of an interface with the substrate-binding domain, opening of the lid subdomain, and a decrease in the binding affinity for substrates (Figure 1B) (Rist et al, 2006; Swain et al, 2007). Upon ATP hydrolysis by the nucleotide-binding domain, Hsp70 is returned to the ADP-bound configuration suitable for another round of substrate binding and release. This process of cyclical substrate binding and release underlies all biological functions of Hsp70 proteins.
What is the structural basis for the long-range functional coupling within Hsp70? When allostery is a conserved property of a protein family, one approach to this problem is to analyze the correlated evolution of amino acids in the family—the expected statistical signature of cooperative action of protein residues (Lockless and Ranganathan, 1999; Kass and Horovitz, 2002; Suel et al, 2003). Previous work using an implementation of this concept (the statistical coupling analysis or SCA) showed that proteins contain sparse networks of co-evolving amino acids termed ‘sectors' that link protein active sites with distinct functional surfaces through the protein core (Halabi et al, 2009). This architecture is consistent with known allosteric mechanisms in protein domains (Suel et al, 2003; Halabi et al, 2009).
However, the principle of co-evolution of protein residues need not be limited to the study of individual protein domains. Indeed, conserved allosteric coupling between two (or more) non-homologous domains implies the existence of shared sectors that span functional sites on different domains. Here, we test this concept by extending the SCA method to consider the allosteric mechanism acting between the two domains of the Hsp70 proteins. Hsp70-like proteins include not only the allosteric Hsp70s, but also the Hsp110s—homologs that contain both domains and are regarded as structural models for Hsp70s, but that do not exhibit allosteric coupling. In this study, we take advantage of the functional divergence between the Hsp70s and Hsp110s to reveal patterns of co-evolution between amino acids that are specifically associated with the allosteric mechanism.
To identify the allosteric sector in Hsp70, we used SCA to compute a weighted correlation matrix, C̃, that describes the co-evolution of every pair of amino-acids positions in a sequence alignment of 926 members of the Hsp70/110 family. We then applied a mathematical method known as singular value decomposition to simultaneously evaluate the pattern of divergence between sequences and the pattern of co-evolution between amino-acid positions. The basic idea is that if the pattern of sequence divergence is able to classify members of a protein family into distinct functional subgroups, then we can rigorously identify the group of co-evolving residues that correspond to the underlying mechanism. Figure 2A shows the principal axis of sequence variation in the Hsp70/110 family, showing a clear separation of the allosteric (Hsp70) and non-allosteric (Hsp110) members of this family. The corresponding axis of co-evolution between amino-acid positions reveals a subset of Hsp70/110 positions (∼20%, 115 residues out of 605 total) that underlie the divergence of Hsp70 and Hsp110 proteins (Figure 2B). These positions derive roughly equally from the nucleotide-binding domain (in blue, 56 positions) and the substrate-binding domain (in green, 59 positions) and are more conserved within the Hsp70 sub-family. These results define a protein sector that is predicted to underlie the allosteric mechanism of Hsp70.
What is the structural arrangement of the putative allosteric sector within the Hsp70 protein? Consistent with a function in allosteric coupling, the 115 sector residues form a physically contiguous network of atoms, linking the ATP-binding site on the nucleotide-binding domain to the substrate recognition site on the substrate-binding domain through the interdomain interface (Figure 2C). The physical connectivity is remarkable given that only ∼20% of overall Hsp70 residues is involved (Figure 2B). Thus, functionally coupled but non-homologous protein domains can share a single sector of co-evolving residues that connects their respective functional sites.
We compared the Hsp70 sector mapping with the large body of biochemical studies that have been carried out in this family. We find strong experimental support for the involvement of sector positions in the Hsp70 allosteric mechanism in several regions: (1) within the ATP-binding site, (2) at the interface linking the two domains, and (3) within the β-sandwich core of the substrate-binding domain. The sector analysis also makes predictions about the involvement of some previously untested residues; we show that mutations at two such sites in fact reduce the allosteric coupling within Hsp70 in vitro and fail to complement a DnaK knockout strain of E. coli in a stress-response assay. Taken together, we conclude that sector positions are associated with the allosteric mechanism of Hsp70.
This work also adds a new finding with regard to the concept of protein sectors. Previous work showed that multiple quasi-independent sectors, each of which contributes a different aspect of function, are possible within a single protein domain (Halabi et al, 2009). This work shows that a single sector can also span two different protein domains when biological function (here, nucleotide-dependent substrate binding) arises from their coupled action. This result emphasizes the point that sectors are units of functional selection and are not obviously related to traditional hierarchies of structural organization in proteins. An interesting possibility is that evolution of allostery between proteins might evolve through the joining of protein sectors, a conjecture that can be tested in future work.
Allosteric coupling between protein domains is fundamental to many cellular processes. For example, Hsp70 molecular chaperones use ATP binding by their actin-like N-terminal ATPase domain to control substrate interactions in their C-terminal substrate-binding domain, a reaction that is critical for protein folding in cells. Here, we generalize the statistical coupling analysis to simultaneously evaluate co-evolution between protein residues and functional divergence between sequences in protein sub-families. Applying this method in the Hsp70/110 protein family, we identify a sparse but structurally contiguous group of co-evolving residues called a ‘sector', which is an attribute of the allosteric Hsp70 sub-family that links the functional sites of the two domains across a specific interdomain interface. Mutagenesis of Escherichia coli DnaK supports the conclusion that this interdomain sector underlies the allosteric coupling in this protein family. The identification of the Hsp70 sector provides a basis for further experiments to understand the mechanism of allostery and introduces the idea that cooperativity between interacting proteins or protein domains can be mediated by shared sectors.
PMCID: PMC2964120  PMID: 20865007
allostery; chaperone; co-evolution; SCA; sector
4.  Stress Genes and Proteins in the Archaea 
The field covered in this review is new; the first sequence of a gene encoding the molecular chaperone Hsp70 and the first description of a chaperonin in the archaea were reported in 1991. These findings boosted research in other areas beyond the archaea that were directly relevant to bacteria and eukaryotes, for example, stress gene regulation, the structure-function relationship of the chaperonin complex, protein-based molecular phylogeny of organisms and eukaryotic-cell organelles, molecular biology and biochemistry of life in extreme environments, and stress tolerance at the cellular and molecular levels. In the last 8 years, archaeal stress genes and proteins belonging to the families Hsp70, Hsp60 (chaperonins), Hsp40(DnaJ), and small heat-shock proteins (sHsp) have been studied. The hsp70(dnaK), hsp40(dnaJ), and grpE genes (the chaperone machine) have been sequenced in seven, four, and two species, respectively, but their expression has been examined in detail only in the mesophilic methanogen Methanosarcina mazei S-6. The proteins possess markers typical of bacterial homologs but none of the signatures distinctive of eukaryotes. In contrast, gene expression and transcription initiation signals and factors are of the eucaryal type, which suggests a hybrid archaeal-bacterial complexion for the Hsp70 system. Another remarkable feature is that several archaeal species in different phylogenetic branches do not have the gene hsp70(dnaK), an evolutionary puzzle that raises the important question of what replaces the product of this gene, Hsp70(DnaK), in protein biogenesis and refolding and for stress resistance. Although archaea are prokaryotes like bacteria, their Hsp60 (chaperonin) family is of type (group) II, similar to that of the eukaryotic cytosol; however, unlike the latter, which has several different members, the archaeal chaperonin system usually includes only two (in some species one and in others possibly three) related subunits of ∼60 kDa. These form, in various combinations depending on the species, a large structure or chaperonin complex sometimes called the thermosome. This multimolecular assembly is similar to the bacterial chaperonin complex GroEL/S, but it is made of only the large, double-ring oligomers each with eight (or nine) subunits instead of seven as in the bacterial complex. Like Hsp70(DnaK), the archaeal chaperonin subunits are remarkable for their evolution, but for a different reason. Ubiquitous among archaea, the chaperonins show a pattern of recurrent gene duplication—hetero-oligomeric chaperonin complexes appear to have evolved several times independently. The stress response and stress tolerance in the archaea involve chaperones, chaperonins, other heat shock (stress) proteins including sHsp, thermoprotectants, the proteasome, as yet incompletely understood thermoresistant features of many molecules, and formation of multicellular structures. The latter structures include single- and mixed-species (bacterial-archaeal) types. Many questions remain unanswered, and the field offers extraordinary opportunities owing to the diversity, genetic makeup, and phylogenetic position of archaea and the variety of ecosystems they inhabit. Specific aspects that deserve investigation are elucidation of the mechanism of action of the chaperonin complex at different temperatures, identification of the partners and substitutes for the Hsp70 chaperone machine, analysis of protein folding and refolding in hyperthermophiles, and determination of the molecular mechanisms involved in stress gene regulation in archaeal species that thrive under widely different conditions (temperature, pH, osmolarity, and barometric pressure). These studies are now possible with uni- and multicellular archaeal models and are relevant to various areas of basic and applied research, including exploration and conquest of ecosystems inhospitable to humans and many mammals and plants.
PMCID: PMC98981  PMID: 10585970
5.  Binding of a Small Molecule at a Protein–Protein Interface Regulates the Chaperone Activity of Hsp70–Hsp40 
ACS chemical biology  2010;5(6):611-622.
Heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) is a highly conserved molecular chaperone that plays multiple roles in protein homeostasis. In these various tasks, the activity of Hsp70 is shaped by interactions with co-chaperones, such as Hsp40. The Hsp40 family of co-chaperones binds to Hsp70 through a conserved J-domain, and these factors stimulate ATPase and protein-folding activity. Using chemical screens, we identified a compound, 115-7c, which acts as an artificial co-chaperone for Hsp70. Specifically, the activities of 115-7c mirrored those of a Hsp40; the compound stimulated the ATPase and protein-folding activities of a prokaryotic Hsp70 (DnaK) and partially compensated for a Hsp40 loss-of-function mutation in yeast. Consistent with these observations, NMR and mutagenesis studies indicate that the binding site for 115-7c is adjacent to a region on DnaK that is required for J-domain-mediated stimulation. Interestingly, we found that 115-7c and the Hsp40 do not compete for binding but act in concert. Using this information, we introduced additional steric bulk to 115-7c and converted it into an inhibitor. Thus, these chemical probes either promote or inhibit chaperone functions by regulating Hsp70–Hsp40 complex assembly at a native protein–protein interface. This unexpected mechanism may provide new avenues for exploring how chaperones and co-chaperones cooperate to shape protein homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC2950966  PMID: 20481474
6.  Development of Fluorescence Polarization Assays for the Molecular Chaperone Hsp70 Family Members: Hsp72 and DnaK 
The heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) family of chaperones play crucial roles in protein folding and have been linked to numerous diseases. We were interested in developing a generally applicable assay format for the Hsp70 family and have developed fluorescence polarization based assays for both the mammalian Hsp72 and its bacterial counterpart, DnaK. These assays are comparable in assay set-up, incubation conditions and buffer components. Both unfolded polypeptides and synthetic peptides can be utilized as tracers to detect binding although peptides meeting the minimum seven residue length for Hsp70 binders have weaken binding when modified with fluorescein presumably due to steric effects. Although we did not identify a suitable general substrate for all Hsp70 proteins, fluorescein tagged peptide substrates that gave high affinity binding were identified for both DnaK and hsp72. We would predict that these assays will be suitable for identifying both selective chemical probes of Hsp70 family members and “pan” Hsp70 inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC2803438  PMID: 20161846
7.  A Bacteriophage-Encoded J-Domain Protein Interacts with the DnaK/Hsp70 Chaperone and Stabilizes the Heat-Shock Factor σ32 of Escherichia coli 
PLoS Genetics  2012;8(11):e1003037.
The universally conserved J-domain proteins (JDPs) are obligate cochaperone partners of the Hsp70 (DnaK) chaperone. They stimulate Hsp70's ATPase activity, facilitate substrate delivery, and confer specific cellular localization to Hsp70. In this work, we have identified and characterized the first functional JDP protein encoded by a bacteriophage. Specifically, we show that the ORFan gene 057w of the T4-related enterobacteriophage RB43 encodes a bona fide JDP protein, named Rki, which specifically interacts with the Escherichia coli host multifunctional DnaK chaperone. However, in sharp contrast with the three known host JDP cochaperones of DnaK encoded by E. coli, Rki does not act as a generic cochaperone in vivo or in vitro. Expression of Rki alone is highly toxic for wild-type E. coli, but toxicity is abolished in the absence of endogenous DnaK or when the conserved J-domain of Rki is mutated. Further in vivo analyses revealed that Rki is expressed early after infection by RB43 and that deletion of the rki gene significantly impairs RB43 proliferation. Furthermore, we show that mutations in the host dnaK gene efficiently suppress the growth phenotype of the RB43 rki deletion mutant, thus indicating that Rki specifically interferes with DnaK cellular function. Finally, we show that the interaction of Rki with the host DnaK chaperone rapidly results in the stabilization of the heat-shock factor σ32, which is normally targeted for degradation by DnaK. The mechanism by which the Rki-dependent stabilization of σ32 facilitates RB43 bacteriophage proliferation is discussed.
Author Summary
Bacteriophages are the most abundant biological entities on earth. As a consequence, they represent the largest reservoir of unexplored genetic information. They control bacterial growth, mediate horizontal gene transfer, and thus exert profound influence on microbial ecology and growth. One of the striking features of bacteriophages is that they code for many open reading frames of thus far unknown biological function (called ORFans), which have been referred to as the dark matter of our biosphere. Here we have extensively characterized such a novel ORFan-encoded protein, Rki, encoded by the large, virulent enterobacteriaceae bacteriophage RB43. We show that Rki functions to control the host stress-response during the early stages of bacteriophage infection, specifically by interacting with the host DnaK/Hsp70 chaperone to stabilize the major host heat-shock factor, σ32.
PMCID: PMC3486835  PMID: 23133404
8.  Identification of Key Hinge Residues Important for Nucleotide-Dependent Allostery in E. coli Hsp70/DnaK 
PLoS Computational Biology  2013;9(11):e1003279.
DnaK is a molecular chaperone that has important roles in protein folding. The hydrolysis of ATP is essential to this activity, and the effects of nucleotides on the structure and function of DnaK have been extensively studied. However, the key residues that govern the conformational motions that define the apo, ATP-bound, and ADP-bound states are not entirely clear. Here, we used molecular dynamics simulations, mutagenesis, and enzymatic assays to explore the molecular basis of this process. Simulations of DnaK's nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) in the apo, ATP-bound, and ADP/Pi-bound states suggested that each state has a distinct conformation, consistent with available biochemical and structural information. The simulations further suggested that large shearing motions between subdomains I-A and II-A dominated the conversion between these conformations. We found that several evolutionally conserved residues, especially G228 and G229, appeared to function as a hinge for these motions, because they predominantly populated two distinct states depending on whether ATP or ADP/Pi was bound. Consistent with the importance of these “hinge” residues, alanine point mutations caused DnaK to have reduced chaperone activities in vitro and in vivo. Together, these results clarify how sub-domain motions communicate allostery in DnaK.
Author Summary
DnaK belongs to the highly conserved heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) family, a group of ATP-dependent molecular chaperones that regulates proteostasis. Studies have suggested that global movements of the subdomains in the nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) of DnaK regulate its catalytic activity. However, there is less known about the key residues involved in these subdomain motions and whether these residues might also regulate inter-domain allostery with the substrate-binding domain (SBD). To examine the motions in the NBD, dynamics simulations of DnaK's NBD in the apo, ATP-bound, and ADP/Pi-bound states were performed. Through essential dynamics and torsion angle analyses, we identified motions and highly conserved hinge residues between subdomains IIA and IIB that are likely to be important for nucleotide cycling and for communicating the nucleotide state to the SBD. Supporting this model, mutating these conserved hinge residues affected ATPase activity and chaperone functions in vitro and in bacteria, suggesting their importance in the nucleotide-dependent motions in DnaK.
PMCID: PMC3836694  PMID: 24277995
9.  Expression of the Caulobacter heat shock gene dnaK is developmentally controlled during growth at normal temperatures. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1990;172(6):3051-3059.
Caulobacter crescentus has a single dnaK gene that is highly homologous to the hsp70 family of heat shock genes. Analysis of the cloned and sequenced dnaK gene has shown that the deduced amino acid sequence could encode a protein of 67.6 kilodaltons that is 68% identical to the DnaK protein of Escherichia coli and 49% identical to the Drosophila and human hsp70 protein family. A partial open reading frame 165 base pairs 3' to the end of dnaK encodes a peptide of 190 amino acids that is 59% identical to DnaJ of E. coli. Northern blot analysis revealed a single 4.0-kilobase mRNA homologous to the cloned fragment. Since the dnaK coding region is 1.89 kilobases, dnaK and dnaJ may be transcribed as a polycistronic message. S1 mapping and primer extension experiments showed that transcription initiated at two sites 5' to the dnaK coding sequence. A single start site of transcription was identified during heat shock at 42 degrees C, and the predicted promoter sequence conformed to the consensus heat shock promoters of E. coli. At normal growth temperature (30 degrees C), a different start site was identified 3' to the heat shock start site that conformed to the E. coli sigma 70 promoter consensus sequence. S1 protection assays and analysis of expression of the dnaK gene fused to the lux transcription reporter gene showed that expression of dnaK is temporally controlled under normal physiological conditions and that transcription occurs just before the initiation of DNA replication. Thus, in both human cells (I. K. L. Milarski and R. I. Morimoto, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 83:9517-9521, 1986) and in a simple bacterium, the transcription of a hsp70 gene is temporally controlled as a function of the cell cycle under normal growth conditions.
PMCID: PMC209107  PMID: 2345134
10.  Horizontal gene transfer of a chloroplast DnaJ-Fer protein to Thaumarchaeota and the evolutionary history of the DnaK chaperone system in Archaea 
In 2004, we discovered an atypical protein in metagenomic data from marine thaumarchaeotal species. This protein, referred as DnaJ-Fer, is composed of a J domain fused to a Ferredoxin (Fer) domain. Surprisingly, the same protein was also found in Viridiplantae (green algae and land plants). Because J domain-containing proteins are known to interact with the major chaperone DnaK/Hsp70, this suggested that a DnaK protein was present in Thaumarchaeota. DnaK/Hsp70, its co-chaperone DnaJ and the nucleotide exchange factor GrpE are involved, among others, in heat shocks and heavy metal cellular stress responses.
Using phylogenomic approaches we have investigated the evolutionary history of the DnaJ-Fer protein and of interacting proteins DnaK, DnaJ and GrpE in Thaumarchaeota. These proteins have very complex histories, involving several inter-domain horizontal gene transfers (HGTs) to explain the contemporary distribution of these proteins in archaea. These transfers include one from Cyanobacteria to Viridiplantae and one from Viridiplantae to Thaumarchaeota for the DnaJ-Fer protein, as well as independent HGTs from Bacteria to mesophilic archaea for the DnaK/DnaJ/GrpE system, followed by HGTs among mesophilic and thermophilic archaea.
We highlight the chimerical origin of the set of proteins DnaK, DnaJ, GrpE and DnaJ-Fer in Thaumarchaeota and suggest that the HGT of these proteins has played an important role in the adaptation of several archaeal groups to mesophilic and thermophilic environments from hyperthermophilic ancestors. Finally, the evolutionary history of DnaJ-Fer provides information useful for the relative dating of the diversification of Archaeplastida and Thaumarchaeota.
PMCID: PMC3564930  PMID: 23181628
DnaJ/Hsp40; DnaK/Hsp70; Hyperthermophily; Archaeplastida; Phylogeny; Archaea; Thaumarchaeota; Horizontal gene transfer; Mesophily
11.  Cytosolic and ER J-domains of mammalian and parasitic origin can functionally interact with DnaK 
Both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells contain multiple heat shock protein 40 (Hsp40) and heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) proteins, which cooperate as molecular chaperones to ensure fidelity at all stages of protein biogenesis. The Hsp40 signature domain, the J-domain, is required for binding of an Hsp40 to a partner Hsp70, and may also play a role in the specificity of the association. Through the creation of chimeric Hsp40 proteins by the replacement of the J-domain of a prokaryotic Hsp40 (DnaJ), we have tested the functional equivalence of J-domains from a number of divergent Hsp40s of mammalian and parasitic origin (malarial Pfj1 and Pfj4, trypanosomal Tcj3, human ERj3, ERj5, and Hsj1, and murine ERj1). An in vivo functional assay was used to test the functionality of the chimeric proteins on the basis of their ability to reverse the thermosensitivity of a dnaJ cbpA mutant Escherichia coli strain (OD259). The Hsp40 chimeras containing J-domains originating from soluble (cytosolic or endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-lumenal) Hsp40s were able to reverse the thermosensitivity of E. coli OD259. In all cases, modified derivatives of these chimeric proteins containing an His to Gln substitution in the HPD motif of the J-domain were unable to reverse the thermosensitivity of E. coli OD259. This suggested that these J-domains exerted their in vivo functionality through a specific interaction with E. coli Hsp70, DnaK. Interestingly, a Hsp40 chimera containing the J-domain of ERj1, an integral membrane-bound ER Hsp40, was unable to reverse the thermosensitivity of E. coli OD259, suggesting that this J-domain was unable to functionally interact with DnaK. Substitutions of conserved amino acid residues and motifs were made in all four helices (I–IV) and the loop regions of the J-domains, and the modified chimeric Hsp40s were tested for functionality using the in vivo assay. Substitution of a highly conserved basic residue in helix II of the J-domain was found to disrupt in vivo functionality for all the J-domains tested. We propose that helix II and the HPD motif of the J-domain represent the fundamental elements of a binding surface required for the interaction of Hsp40s with Hsp70s, and that this surface has been conserved in mammalian, parasitic and bacterial systems.
PMCID: PMC1906734  PMID: 17239655
DnaJ; Malarial Hsp40s; Trypanosomal Hsp40s; Endoplasmic reticulum Hsp40s; HSJ1
12.  Inhibition of Hsp72-Mediated Protein Refolding by 4-Hydroxy-2-nonenal 
Chemical research in toxicology  2004;17(11):1459-1467.
A proteomic approach was applied to liver cytosol from rats fed a diet consisting of high fat and ethanol to identify 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE)-modified proteins in vivo. Cytosolic Hsp72, the inducible variant of the Hsp70 heat shock protein family, was consistently among the proteins modified by 4-HNE. Despite 1.3-fold induction of Hsp72 in the livers of ethanol-fed animals, no increase in Hsp70-mediated luciferase refolding in isolated heptocytes was observed, suggesting inhibition of this process by 4-HNE. A 50% and 75% reduction in luciferase refolding efficiency was observed in rabbit reticulocyte lysate (RRL) supplemented with recombinant Hsp72 which had been modified in vitro with 10 and 100 μM 4-HNE, respectively. This observation was accompanied by a 25% and 50% decrease in substrate binding by the chaperone following the same treatment; however, no effect on complex formation between Hsp72 and its co-chaperone Hsp40 was observed. Trypsin digest and mass spectral analysis of Hsp72 treated with 10 and 100 μM 4-HNE consistently identified adduct formation at Cys267 in the ATPase domain of the chaperone. The role of this residue in the observed inhibition was demonstrated through the use of DnaK, a bacterial Hsp70 variant lacking Cys267. DnaK was resistant to 4-HNE inactivation. Additionally, Hsp72 was resistant to inactivation by the thiolunreactive aldehyde malondialdehyde (MDA), further supporting a role for Cys in Hsp72 inhibition by 4-HNE. Finally, the affinity of Hsp72 for ATP was decreased 32% and 72% following treatment of the chaperone with 10 and 100 μM 4-HNE, respectively. In a model of chronic alcoholic liver injury, induction of Hsp72 was not accompanied by an increase in protein refolding ability. This is likely the result of 4-HNE modification of the Hsp72 ATPase domain.
PMCID: PMC2956495  PMID: 15540944
13.  hrcA, Encoding the Repressor of the groEL Genes in Streptomyces albus G, Is Associated with a Second dnaJ Gene 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(19):5129-5134.
Expression of the principal chaperones of the heat shock stimulon of Streptomyces albus G are under the negative control of different repressors. The dnaK operon is regulated by hspR, the last gene of the operon (dnaK-grpE-dnaJ-hspR). hsp18, encoding a member of the small heat shock protein family, is regulated by orfY, which is in the opposite orientation upstream of hsp18. The groES-groEL1 operon and the groEL2 gene are regulated differently. They present tandem copies of the CIRCE element found in the 5′ region of many heat shock genes and shown to act in Bacillus subtilis as an operator for a repressor encoded by hrcA (hrc stands for heat regulation at CIRCE). We report the identification in S. albus of a new heat shock operon containing hrcA and dnaJ homologs. Disruption of hrcA increased the transcription of the groES-groEL1 operon and of the groEL2 gene. These features were lost when the mutant was complemented in trans by an intact copy of hrcA. Despite considerable accumulation of the GroE chaperones in the hrcA mutant, there was no effect on formation of the aerial mycelium and sporulation, indicating that neither hrcA nor the level of groE gene expression is directly involved in the regulation of Streptomyces morphological differentiation.
PMCID: PMC107549  PMID: 9748446
14.  Regulation of the dnaK operon of Streptomyces coelicolor A3(2) is governed by HspR, an autoregulatory repressor protein. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1997;179(19):5999-6004.
The dnaK operon of Streptomyces coelicolor contains four genes (5'-dnaK-grpE-dnaJ-hspR). The fourth gene encodes a novel heat shock protein, HspR, which appears so far to be unique to the high-G+C actinomycete group of bacteria. HspR binds with high specificity to three inverted repeat sequences in the promoter region of the S. coelicolor dnaK operon, strongly suggesting a direct role for HspR in heat shock gene regulation. Here we present genetic and biochemical evidence that HspR is the repressor of the dnaK operon. Disruption of hspR leads to high-level constitutive transcription of the dnaK operon. Parallel transcriptional analyses of groESL1 and groEL2 expression demonstrated that heat shock regulation of the groE genes was essentially unaffected in an hspR null mutant, although the basal (uninduced) level of groEL2 transcription was slightly elevated compared with the wild type. The results of HspR titration experiments, where the dnaK operon promoter region was cloned at ca. 50 copies per chromosome, were consistent with the prediction that HspR functions as a negative autoregulator. His-tagged HspR, overproduced and purified from Escherichia coli, was shown to repress transcription from the dnaK operon promoter in vitro, providing additional evidence for the proposal that HspR directly regulates transcription of the dnaK operon. These studies indicate that there are at least two transcriptional mechanisms for controlling heat shock genes in S. coelicolor--one controlling the dnaK operon and another controlling the groE genes.
PMCID: PMC179499  PMID: 9324243
15.  Formation in vitro of complexes between an abnormal fusion protein and the heat shock proteins from Escherichia coli and yeast mitochondria. 
Journal of Bacteriology  1991;173(22):7249-7256.
Heat shock proteins (HSPs) of the Hsp70 and GroEL families associate with a variety of cell proteins in vivo. However, the formation of such complexes has not been systematically studied. A 31-kDa fusion protein (CRAG), which contains 12 residues of cro repressor, truncated protein A, and 14 residues of beta-galactosidase, when expressed in Escherichia coli, was found in complexes with DnaK, GrpE, protease La, and GroEL. When an E. coli extract not containing CRAG was applied to an affinity column containing CRAG, DnaK, GroEL, and GrpE were selectively bound. These HSPs did not bind to a normal protein A column. DnaK, GrpE, and the fraction of GroEL could be eluted from the CRAG column with ATP but not with a nonhydrolyzable ATP analog. The ATP-dependent release of DnaK and GroEL also required Mg2+, but GrpE dissociated with ATP alone. The binding and release of DnaK and GroEL were independent events, but the binding of GrpE required DnaK. Inactivation of DnaJ, GrpE, and GroES did not affect the association or dissociation of DnaK or GroEL from CRAG. The DnaK and GrpE proteins could be eluted with 10(-6) M ATP, but 10(-4) M was required for GroEL release. This approach allows a one-step purification of these proteins from E. coli and also the isolation of the DnaK and GroEL homologs from yeast mitochondria. Competition experiments with oligopeptide fragments of CRAG showed that DnaK and GroEL interact with different sites on CRAG and that the cro-derived domain of CRAG contains the DnaK-binding site.
PMCID: PMC209232  PMID: 1938919
16.  An Essential Nonredundant Role for Mycobacterial DnaK in Native Protein Folding 
PLoS Genetics  2014;10(7):e1004516.
Protein chaperones are essential in all domains of life to prevent and resolve protein misfolding during translation and proteotoxic stress. HSP70 family chaperones, including E. coli DnaK, function in stress induced protein refolding and degradation, but are dispensable for cellular viability due to redundant chaperone systems that prevent global nascent peptide insolubility. However, the function of HSP70 chaperones in mycobacteria, a genus that includes multiple human pathogens, has not been examined. We find that mycobacterial DnaK is essential for cell growth and required for native protein folding in Mycobacterium smegmatis. Loss of DnaK is accompanied by proteotoxic collapse characterized by the accumulation of insoluble newly synthesized proteins. DnaK is required for solubility of large multimodular lipid synthases, including the essential lipid synthase FASI, and DnaK loss is accompanied by disruption of membrane structure and increased cell permeability. Trigger Factor is nonessential and has a minor role in native protein folding that is only evident in the absence of DnaK. In unstressed cells, DnaK localizes to multiple, dynamic foci, but relocalizes to focal protein aggregates during stationary phase or upon expression of aggregating peptides. Mycobacterial cells restart cell growth after proteotoxic stress by isolating persistent DnaK containing protein aggregates away from daughter cells. These results reveal unanticipated essential nonredunant roles for mycobacterial DnaK in mycobacteria and indicate that DnaK defines a unique susceptibility point in the mycobacterial proteostasis network.
Author Summary
All living organisms use protein chaperones to prevent proteins from becoming insoluble either spontaneously or during cellular stress that can damage proteins. The HSP70 chaperone DnaK has been well characterized in E. coli and is important for that bacterium to resist protein denaturation from heat, but is dispensable for cell growth in the absence of stress due to redundancy with other chaperone systems. However, the function of chaperones in bacterial pathogens, which are exposed to protein stress within the host, has received less attention. Here we examine the function of DnaK in mycobacteria, a genus that includes multiple human pathogens, and find that DnaK is required for cell growth. This essential function is due to a lack of redundancy with other chaperone systems for the folding of proteins, even in the absence of stress. These findings expand the paradigm of DnaK function and identify DnaK as a promising target for antibiotic development for mycobacteria.
PMCID: PMC4109909  PMID: 25058675
17.  The Human DnaJ Homologue dj2 Facilitates Mitochondrial Protein Import and Luciferase Refolding  
The Journal of Cell Biology  1997;139(5):1089-1095.
DnaJ homologues function in cooperation with hsp70 family members in various cellular processes including intracellular protein trafficking and folding. Three human DnaJ homologues present in the cytosol have been identified: dj1 (hsp40/hdj-1), dj2 (HSDJ/hdj-2), and neuronal tissue-specific hsj1. dj1 is thought to be engaged in folding of nascent polypeptides, whereas functions of the other DnaJ homologues remain to be elucidated. To investigate roles of dj2 and dj1, we developed a system of chaperone depletion from and readdition to rabbit reticulocyte lysates. Using this system, we found that heat shock cognate 70 protein (hsc70) and dj2, but not dj1, are involved in mitochondrial import of preornithine transcarbamylase. Bacterial DnaJ could replace mammalian dj2 in mitochondrial protein import. We also tested the effects of these DnaJ homologues on folding of guanidine-denatured firefly luciferase. Unexpectedly, dj2, but not dj1, together with hsc70 refolded the protein efficiently. We propose that dj2 is the functional partner DnaJ homologue of hsc70 in the mammalian cytosol. Bacterial DnaJ protein could replace mammalian dj2 in the refolding of luciferase. Thus, the cytosolic chaperone system for mitochondrial protein import and for protein folding is highly conserved, involving DnaK and DnaJ in bacteria, Ssa1–4p and Ydj1p in yeast, and hsc70 and dj2 in mammals.
PMCID: PMC2140199  PMID: 9382858
18.  One out of Four: HspL but No Other Small Heat Shock Protein of Agrobacterium tumefaciens Acts as Efficient Virulence-Promoting VirB8 Chaperone 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(11):e49685.
Alpha-crystallin-type small heat shock proteins (sHsps) are ubiquitously distributed in most eukaryotes and prokaryotes. Four sHsp genes named hspL, hspC, hspAT1, and hspAT2 were identified in Agrobacterium tumefaciens, a plant pathogenic bacterium capable of unique interkingdom DNA transfer via type IV secretion system (T4SS). HspL is highly expressed in virulence-induced growth condition and functions as a VirB8 chaperone to promote T4SS-mediated DNA transfer. Here, we used genetic and biochemical approaches to investigate the involvement of the other three sHsps in T4SS and discovered the molecular basis underlying the dominant function of HspL in promoting T4SS function. While single deletion of hspL but no other sHsp gene reduced T4SS-mediated DNA transfer and tumorigenesis efficiency, additional deletion of other sHsp genes in the hspL deletion background caused synergistic effects in the virulence phenotypes. This is correlated with the high induction of hspL and only modest increase of hspC, hspAT1, and hspAT2 at their mRNA and protein abundance in virulence-induced growth condition. Interestingly, overexpression of any single sHsp gene alone in the quadruple mutant caused increased T4SS-mediated DNA transfer and tumorigenesis. Thermal aggregation protecting assays in vitro indicated that all four sHsps exhibit chaperone activity for the model substrate citrate synthase but only HspL functions as efficient chaperone for VirB8. The higher VirB8 chaperone activity of HspL was also demonstrated in vivo, in which lower amounts of HspL than other sHsps were sufficient in maintaining VirB8 homeostasis in A. tumefaciens. Domain swapping between HspL and HspAT2 indicated that N-terminal, central alpha-crystallin, and C-terminal domains of HspL all contribute to HspL function as an efficient VirB8 chaperone. Taken together, we suggest that the dominant role of HspL in promoting T4SS function is based on its higher expression in virulence-induced condition and its more efficient VirB8 chaperone activity as compared to other sHsps.
PMCID: PMC3504140  PMID: 23185409
19.  Complementation of an Escherichia coli DnaK Defect by Hsc70-DnaK Chimeric Proteins 
Journal of Bacteriology  2004;186(18):6248-6253.
Escherichia coli DnaK and rat Hsc70 are members of the highly conserved 70-kDa heat shock protein (Hsp70) family that show strong sequence and structure similarities and comparable functional properties in terms of interactions with peptides and unfolded proteins and cooperation with cochaperones. We show here that, while the DnaK protein is, as expected, able to complement an E. coli dnaK mutant strain for growth at high temperatures and λ phage propagation, Hsc70 protein is not. However, an Hsc70 in which the peptide-binding domain has been replaced by that of DnaK is able to complement this strain for both phenotypes, suggesting that the peptide-binding domain of DnaK is essential to fulfill the specific functions of this protein necessary for growth at high temperatures and for λ phage replication. The implications of these findings on the functional specificities of the Hsp70s and the role of protein-protein interactions in the DnaK chaperone system are discussed.
PMCID: PMC515143  PMID: 15342595
20.  A 70-kDa molecular chaperone, DnaK, from the industrial bacterium Bacillus licheniformis: gene cloning, purification and molecular characterization of the recombinant protein 
Indian Journal of Microbiology  2009;49(2):151-160.
The heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70/DnaK) gene of Bacillus licheniformis is 1,839 bp in length encoding a polypeptide of 612 amino acid residues. The deduced amino acid sequence of the gene shares high sequence identity with other Hsp70/DnaK proteins. The characteristic domains typical for Hsps/DnaKs are also well conserved in B. licheniformis DnaK (BlDnaK). BlDnaK was overexpressed in Escherichia coli using pQE expression system and the recombinant protein was purified to homogeneity by nickel-chelate chromatography. The optimal temperature for ATPase activity of the purified BlDnaK was 40°C in the presence of 100 mM KCl. The purified BlDnaK had a Vmax of 32.5 nmol Pi/min and a KM of 439 μM. In vivo, the dnaK gene allowed an E. coli dnaK756-ts mutant to grow at 44°C, suggesting that BlDnaK should be functional for survival of host cells under environmental changes especially higher temperature. We also described the use of circular dichroism to characterize the conformation change induced by ATP binding. Binding of ATP was not accompanied by a net change in secondary structure, but ATP together with Mg2+ and K+ ions had a greater enhancement in the stability of BlDnaK at stress temperatures. Simultaneous addition of DnaJ, GrpE, and NR-peptide (NRLLLTG) synergistically stimulates the ATPase activity of BlDnaK by 11.7-fold.
PMCID: PMC3450139  PMID: 23100764
Bacillus licheniformis; DnaK; ATPase activity; Escherichia coli; Circular dichroism
21.  Chemical Manipulation of Hsp70 ATPase Activity Regulates Tau Stability 
Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies have recently been clustered with a group of nervous system disorders termed protein misfolding diseases. The common element established between these disorders is their requirement for processing by the chaperone complex. It is now clear that the individual components of the chaperone system, such as Hsp70 and Hsp90, exist in an intricate signaling network that exerts pleiotropic effects on a host of substrates. Therefore, we have endeavored to identify new compounds that can specifically regulate individual components of the chaperone family. Here, we hypothesized that chemical manipulation of Hsp70 ATPase activity, a target that has not previously been pursued, could illuminate an entirely novel pathway towards chaperone-based therapies. Using a newly developed high-throughput screening system, we identified inhibitors and activators of Hsp70 enzymatic activity. Inhibitors led to rapid proteasome-dependent tau degradation in a cell-based model. Conversely, Hsp70 activators preserved tau levels in the same system. Hsp70 inhibition did not result in general protein degradation, nor did it induce a heat shock response. We also found that inhibiting Hsp70 ATPase activity after increasing its expression levels facilitated tau degradation at lower doses, suggesting that we can combine genetic and pharmacologic manipulation of Hsp70 to control the fate of bound substrates. Disease relevance of this strategy was further established when tau levels were rapidly and substantially reduced in brain tissue from tau transgenic mice. These findings reveal an entirely novel path towards therapeutic intervention of tauopathies by inhibition of the previously untargeted ATPase activity of Hsp70.
PMCID: PMC2775811  PMID: 19793966
Tau; Alzheimer’s disease; chaperones; heat shock proteins; therapeutic; chemical
22.  Accurate Prediction of DnaK-Peptide Binding via Homology Modelling and Experimental Data 
PLoS Computational Biology  2009;5(8):e1000475.
Molecular chaperones are essential elements of the protein quality control machinery that governs translocation and folding of nascent polypeptides, refolding and degradation of misfolded proteins, and activation of a wide range of client proteins. The prokaryotic heat-shock protein DnaK is the E. coli representative of the ubiquitous Hsp70 family, which specializes in the binding of exposed hydrophobic regions in unfolded polypeptides. Accurate prediction of DnaK binding sites in E. coli proteins is an essential prerequisite to understand the precise function of this chaperone and the properties of its substrate proteins. In order to map DnaK binding sites in protein sequences, we have developed an algorithm that combines sequence information from peptide binding experiments and structural parameters from homology modelling. We show that this combination significantly outperforms either single approach. The final predictor had a Matthews correlation coefficient (MCC) of 0.819 when assessed over the 144 tested peptide sequences to detect true positives and true negatives. To test the robustness of the learning set, we have conducted a simulated cross-validation, where we omit sequences from the learning sets and calculate the rate of repredicting them. This resulted in a surprisingly good MCC of 0.703. The algorithm was also able to perform equally well on a blind test set of binders and non-binders, of which there was no prior knowledge in the learning sets. The algorithm is freely available at
Author Summary
Molecular chaperones are essential elements of the protein quality control machinery that governs translocation and folding of nascent polypeptides, refolding and degradation of misfolded proteins, and activation of a wide range of client proteins. This variety of functions results from the existence of multiple chaperones with different structures. Chaperones bind to exposed regions of proteins to fulfil their function. The chaperone must hereby recognise a certain signal sequence on the substrate protein. The nature of the sequence that is exposed will determine the types of chaperones that can interact with it, and in the end will also determine the fate of the substrate protein: refolding, translocation, degradation or activation. Knowledge of the binding sequence determinants of molecular chaperones will shed more light on the mechanism of how each chaperone contributes to the cellular protein quality control system.
In this study we have made an algorithm which accurately predicts binding sites for the well studied E. coli Hsp70 chaperone, DnaK, which is implicated in folding efficiency and prevention of aggregation. The ability to detect and design high-affinity DnaK binding sites enhances our understanding of chaperone-substrate recognition and opens great opportunities to enhance protein solubility using protein-DnaK binding motif fusions.
PMCID: PMC2717214  PMID: 19696878
23.  Visualization and functional analysis of the oligomeric states of Escherichia coli heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70/DnaK) 
Cell Stress & Chaperones  2011;17(3):313-327.
The molecular chaperone DnaK binds to exposed hydrophobic segments in proteins, protecting them from aggregation. DnaK interacts with protein substrates via its substrate-binding domain, and the affinity of this interaction is allosterically regulated by its nucleotide-binding domain. In addition to regulating interdomain allostery, the nucleotide state has been found to influence homo-oligomerization of DnaK. However, the architecture of oligomeric DnaK and its potential functional relevance in the chaperone cycle remain undefined. Towards that goal, we examined the structures of DnaK by negative stain electron microscopy. We found that DnaK samples contain an ensemble of monomers, dimers, and other small, defined multimers. To better understand the function of these oligomers, we stabilized them by cross-linking and found that they retained ATPase activity and protected a model substrate from denaturation. However, these oligomers had a greatly reduced ability to refold substrate and did not respond to stimulation by DnaJ. Finally, we observed oligomeric DnaK in Escherichia coli cellular lysates by native gel electrophoresis and found that these structures became noticeably more prevalent in cells exposed to heat shock. Together, these studies suggest that DnaK oligomers are composed of ordered multimers that are functionally distinct from monomeric DnaK. Thus, oligomerization of DnaK might be an important step in chaperone cycling.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12192-011-0307-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3312962  PMID: 22076723
Electron microscopy; Chaperone; Allostery; Protein complexes; Oligomers
24.  The Hsc66-Hsc20 Chaperone System in Escherichia coli: Chaperone Activity and Interactions with the DnaK-DnaJ-GrpE System 
Journal of Bacteriology  1998;180(24):6617-6624.
Hsc66, a stress-70 protein, and Hsc20, a J-type accessory protein, comprise a newly described Hsp70-type chaperone system in addition to DnaK-DnaJ-GrpE in Escherichia coli. Because endogenous substrates for the Hsc66-Hsc20 system have not yet been identified, we investigated chaperone-like activities of Hsc66 and Hsc20 by their ability to suppress aggregation of denatured model substrate proteins, such as rhodanese, citrate synthase, and luciferase. Hsc66 suppressed aggregation of rhodanese and citrate synthase, and ATP caused effects consistent with complex destabilization typical of other Hsp70-type chaperones. Differences in the activities of Hsc66 and DnaK, however, suggest that these chaperones have dissimilar substrate specificity profiles. Hsc20, unlike DnaJ, did not exhibit intrinsic chaperone activity and appears to function solely as a regulatory cochaperone protein for Hsc66. Possible interactions between the Hsc66-Hsc20 and DnaK-DnaJ-GrpE chaperone systems were also investigated by measuring the effects of cochaperone proteins on Hsp70 ATPase activities. The nucleotide exchange factor GrpE did not stimulate the ATPase activity of Hsc66 and thus appears to function specifically with DnaK. Cross-stimulation by the cochaperones Hsc20 and DnaJ was observed, but the requirement for supraphysiological concentrations makes it unlikely that these interactions occur significantly in vivo. Together these results suggest that Hsc66-Hsc20 and DnaK-DnaJ-GrpE comprise separate molecular chaperone systems with distinct, nonoverlapping cellular functions.
PMCID: PMC107765  PMID: 9852006
25.  Crystal Structure of the Stress-Inducible Human Heat Shock Protein 70 Substrate-Binding Domain in Complex with Peptide Substrate 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(7):e103518.
The HSP70 family of molecular chaperones function to maintain protein quality control and homeostasis. The major stress-induced form, HSP70 (also called HSP72 or HSPA1A) is considered an important anti-cancer drug target because it is constitutively overexpressed in a number of human cancers and promotes cancer cell survival. All HSP70 family members contain two functional domains: an N-terminal nucleotide binding domain (NBD) and a C-terminal protein substrate-binding domain (SBD); the latter is subdivided into SBDα and SBDβ subdomains. The NBD and SBD structures of the bacterial ortholog, DnaK, have been characterized, but only the isolated NBD and SBDα segments of eukaryotic HSP70 proteins have been determined. Here we report the crystal structure of the substrate-bound human HSP70-SBD to 2 angstrom resolution. The overall fold of this SBD is similar to the corresponding domain in the substrate-bound DnaK structures, confirming a similar overall architecture of the orthologous bacterial and human HSP70 proteins. However, conformational differences are observed in the peptide-HSP70-SBD complex, particularly in the loop Lα, β that bridges SBDα to SBDβ, and the loop LL,1 that connects the SBD and NBD. The interaction between the SBDα and SBDβ subdomains and the mode of substrate recognition is also different between DnaK and HSP70. This suggests that differences may exist in how different HSP70 proteins recognize their respective substrates. The high-resolution structure of the substrate-bound-HSP70-SBD complex provides a molecular platform for the rational design of small molecule compounds that preferentially target this C-terminal domain, in order to modulate human HSP70 function.
PMCID: PMC4110032  PMID: 25058147

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