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Protein Sci. 2005 Aug;14(8):1945-54.

Remodeling protein complexes: insights from the AAA+ unfoldase ClpX and Mu transposase.

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Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Multiprotein complexes in the cell are dynamic entities that are constantly undergoing changes in subunit composition and conformation to carry out their functions. The protein-DNA complex that promotes recombination of the bacteriophage Mu is a prime example of a complex that must undergo specific changes to carry out its function. The Clp/Hsp100 family of AAA+ ATPases plays a critical role in mediating such changes. The Clp/Hsp100 unfolding enzymes have been extensively studied for the roles they play in protein degradation. However, degradation is not the only fate for proteins that come in contact with the ATP-dependent unfolding enzymes. The Clp/Hsp100 enzymes induce structural changes in their substrates. These structural changes, which we refer to as "remodeling", ultimately change the biological activity of the substrate. These biological changes include activation, inactivation (not associated with degradation), and relocation within the cell. Analysis of the interaction between Escherichia coli ClpX unfoldase and the Mu recombination complex, has provided molecular insight into the mechanisms of protein remodeling. We discuss the key mechanistic features of the remodeling reactions promoted by ClpX and possible implications of these findings for other biological reactions.

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