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J Biol Chem. 2004 Jul 2;279(27):28435-42. Epub 2004 Apr 20.

Preferential substrate binding orientation by the molecular chaperone HscA.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of California-Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.


HscA, a specialized bacterial hsp70-class chaperone, interacts with the iron-sulfur cluster assembly protein IscU by recognizing a conserved LPPVK sequence motif at positions 99-103. We have used a site-directed fluorescence labeling and quenching strategy to determine whether HscA binds to IscU in a preferred orientation. HscA was selectively labeled on opposite sides of the substrate binding domain with the fluorescent probe bimane, and the ability of LPPVK-containing peptides having tryptophan at the N or C terminus to quench bimane fluorescence was measured. Quenching was highly dependent on the position of tryptophan in the peptide and the location of bimane on HscA implying a strong directional preference for peptide binding. Similar experiments showed that full-length IscU binds in the same orientation as IscU-derived peptides and that binding orientation is unaffected by the co-chaperone HscB. The preferred orientation of the HscA-IscU complex is the reverse of that previously described for peptide complexes of Escherichia coli DnaK and rat Hsc70 substrate binding domain fragments establishing that hsp70 isoforms can bind peptide/polypeptide substrates in different orientations.

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