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Structure. 2004 Oct;12(10):1901-7.

The crystal structure of the reduced, Zn2+-bound form of the B. subtilis Hsp33 chaperone and its implications for the activation mechanism.

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Department of Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22908, USA.


The bacterial heat shock protein Hsp33 is a redox-regulated chaperone activated by oxidative stress. In response to oxidation, four cysteines within a Zn2+ binding C-terminal domain form two disulfide bonds with concomitant release of the metal. This leads to the formation of the biologically active Hsp33 dimer. The crystal structure of the N-terminal domain of the E. coli protein has been reported, but neither the structure of the Zn2+ binding motif nor the nature of its regulatory interaction with the rest of the protein are known. Here we report the crystal structure of the full-length B. subtilis Hsp33 in the reduced form. The structure of the N-terminal, dimerization domain is similar to that of the E. coli protein, although there is no domain swapping. The Zn2+ binding domain is clearly resolved showing the details of the tetrahedral coordination of Zn2+ by four thiolates. We propose a structure-based activation pathway for Hsp33.

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