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Structure. 2006 Nov;14(11):1711-22.

An expanded conformation of single-ring GroEL-GroES complex encapsulates an 86 kDa substrate.

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National Center for Macromolecular Imaging, Verna and Marrs McLean Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Electron cryomicroscopy reveals an unprecedented conformation of the single-ring mutant of GroEL (SR398) bound to GroES in the presence of Mg-ATP. This conformation exhibits a considerable expansion of the folding cavity, with approximately 80% more volume than the X-ray structure of the equivalent cis cavity in the GroEL-GroES-(ADP)(7) complex. This expanded conformation can encapsulate an 86 kDa heterodimeric (alphabeta) assembly intermediate of mitochondrial branched-chain alpha-ketoacid dehydrogenase, the largest substrate ever observed to be cis encapsulated. The SR398-GroES-Mg-ATP complex is found to exist as a mixture of standard and expanded conformations, regardless of the absence or presence of the substrate. However, the presence of even a small substrate causes a pronounced bias toward the expanded conformation. Encapsulation of the large assembly intermediate is supported by a series of electron cryomicroscopy studies as well as the protection of both alpha and beta subunits of the substrate from tryptic digestion.

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