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J Biol Chem. 1996 Aug 30;271(35):21559-65.

Conformations of the nucleotide and polypeptide binding domains of a cytosolic Hsp70 molecular chaperone are coupled.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, State University of New York Health Science Center at Brooklyn, 11203, USA.


70-kDa heat shock protein (Hsp70) molecular chaperones are ATPases that participate in protein folding by regulating protein-protein interactions. ATP binds to the highly conserved amino-terminal domain, whereas polypeptides bind to the less conserved carboxyl-terminal domain. These domains are functionally coupled. Polypeptides were previously shown to dissociate from Hsp70s upon ATP binding and to stimulate ATPase activity. We probed the structure of the yeast cytosolic Hsp70 Ssa1p using limited proteolysis to determine whether the conformations of its nucleotide and polypeptide binding domains are also coupled. Ssa1p adopted three distinct conformations, nucleotide-free, ADP-dependent, and ATP-dependent. Complete conformational changes required K+ and Mg2+. Using amino-terminal sequencing, ATP-agarose chromatography, and a carboxyl-terminal-specific antibody, we mapped the locations of the major proteolytic fragments. Nucleotides altered the conformations of both the nucleotide and polypeptide binding domains. Similarly, a polypeptide altered the conformations of both domains. These results indicate that the conformations of the nucleotide and polypeptide binding domains are coupled.

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