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Exp Cell Res. 2006 Jan 15;312(2):198-204. Epub 2005 Nov 11.

Intracellular dynamics of the Hsp90 co-chaperone p23 is dictated by Hsp90.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, D-69117 Heidelberg, Germany.


p23 is a component of the Hsp90 molecular chaperone machine. It binds and stabilizes the ATP-bound dimeric form of Hsp90. Since Hsp90 binds protein substrates in the ATP conformation, p23 has been proposed to stabilize Hsp90-substrate complexes. In addition, p23 can also function as a molecular chaperone by itself and even possesses an unrelated enzymatic activity. Whether it fulfills the latter functions in cells while bound to Hsp90 remains unknown and is difficult to extrapolate from cell-free biochemical experiments. Using the "fluorescence recovery after photobleaching" (FRAP) technology, I have examined the dynamics of human p23, expressed as a fusion protein with the green fluorescent protein (GFP), in living human HeLa cells. GFP-p23 is distributed throughout the cell, and its mobility is identical in the cytoplasm and in the nucleus. When the Hsp90 interaction is disrupted either with the Hsp90 inhibitor geldanamycin or by introduction of point mutations into p23, the mobility of p23 is greatly accelerated. Under these conditions, its intracellular movement may be diffusion-controlled. In contrast, when wild-type p23 is able to bind Hsp90, a more complex FRAP behavior is observed, suggesting that it is quantitatively bound in Hsp90 complexes undergoing a multitude of other interactions.

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