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Mol Microbiol. 2003 Mar;47(5):1317-28.

Trigger Factor and DnaK possess overlapping substrate pools and binding specificities.

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Zentrum für Molekulare Biologie (ZMBH), Universität Heidelberg, INF282, D-69120 Heidelberg, Germany. e.deuer


Ribosome-associated Trigger Factor (TF) and the DnaK chaperone system assist the folding of newly synthesized proteins in Escherichia coli. Here, we show that DnaK and TF share a common substrate pool in vivo. In TF-deficient cells, deltatig, depleted for DnaK and DnaJ the amount of aggregated proteins increases with increasing temperature, amounting to 10% of total soluble protein (approximately 340 protein species) at 37 degrees C. A similar population of proteins aggregated in DnaK depleted tig+ cells, albeit to a much lower extent. Ninety-four aggregated proteins isolated from DnaK- and DnaJ-depleted deltatig cells were identified by mass spectrometry and found to include essential cytosolic proteins. Four potential in vivo substrates were screened for chaperone binding sites using peptide libraries. Although TF and DnaK recognize different binding motifs, 77% of TF binding peptides also associated with DnaK. In the case of the nascent polypeptides TF and DnaK competed for binding, however, with competitive advantage for TF. In vivo, the loss of TF is compensated by the induction of the heat shock response and thus enhanced levels of DnaK. In summary, our results demonstrate that the co-operation of the two mechanistically distinct chaperones in protein folding is based on their overlap in substrate specificities.

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