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J Immunol. 2009 Oct 15;183(8):5121-8. doi: 10.4049/jimmunol.0900811. Epub 2009 Sep 28.

Drosophila glycoprotein 93 Is an ortholog of mammalian heat shock protein gp96 (grp94, HSP90b1, HSPC4) and retains disulfide bond-independent chaperone function for TLRs and integrins.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT 06030, USA.


Mammalian heat shock protein gp96 is an obligate chaperone for multiple integrins and TLRs, the mechanism of which is largely unknown. We have identified gp93 in Drosophila having high sequence homology to gp96. However, no functions were previously attributed to gp93. To determine whether gp93 and gp96 are functionally conserved, we have expressed gp93 in gp96-deficient mouse cells. Remarkably, the Drosophila gp93 is able to chaperone multiple murine gp96 clients including integrins alpha(4), alpha(L), and beta(2) and TLR2 and TLR9. This observation has led us to examine the structural basis of the chaperone function of gp96 by a close comparison between gp96 and gp93. We report that whereas gp96 undergoes intermolecular disulfide bond formation via Cys(138), gp93 is unable to do so due to the absence of a cysteine near the same region. However, abrogation of disulfide bond formation by substituting C with A (C138A) in gp96 via site-directed mutagenesis did not compromise its chaperone function. Likewise, gp93 chaperone ability could not be improved by forcing intermolecular bond formation between gp93 N termini. We conclude that gp93 is the Drosophila ortholog of gp96 and that the chaperone function of the two molecules is conserved. Moreover, gp96 N-terminal disulfide bond formation is not critical for its function, underscoring the importance of N-terminal dimerization via non-disulfide bond-mediated interactions in client protein folding by gp96. Further study of gp96 from an evolutionary angle shall be informative to uncover the detailed mechanism of its chaperone function of client proteins in the secretory pathway.

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