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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1992 Dec 15;89(24):12108-11.

Activity of the Hsp70 chaperone complex--DnaK, DnaJ, and GrpE--in initiating phage lambda DNA replication by sequestering and releasing lambda P protein.

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Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


Initiation of DNA replication by phage lambda requires the ordered assembly and disassembly of a specialized nucleoprotein structure at the origin of replication. In the disassembly pathway, a set of Escherichia coli heat shock proteins termed the Hsp70 complex--DnaK, DnaJ, and GrpE--act with ATP to release lambda P protein from the nucleo-protein complex, freeing the DnaB helicase for its DNA-unwinding reaction. To investigate the mechanism of the release reaction, we have examined the interaction between P and the three heat shock proteins by glycerol gradient sedimentation and gel electrophoresis. We have discovered an ATP-dependent ternary interaction between P, DnaK, and DnaJ; this P.DnaK.DnaJ complex is dissociated by GrpE. We have concluded that the function of the Hsp70 complex in sequestering and releasing P protein provides for the critical step in the disassembly pathway. Based on our data and other work on protein folding, the formation of the P.DnaK.DnaJ complex might involve a conformational shift to a folding intermediate of P.

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