Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
J Mol Biol. 2010 Aug 27;401(4):553-63. doi: 10.1016/j.jmb.2010.06.050. Epub 2010 Jun 30.

Action of the chaperonin GroEL/ES on a non-native substrate observed with single-molecule FRET.

Author information

  • 1Department of Chemistry, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.


The double ring-shaped chaperonin GroEL binds a wide range of non-native polypeptides within its central cavity and, together with its cofactor GroES, assists their folding in an ATP-dependent manner. The conformational cycle of GroEL/ES has been studied extensively but little is known about how the environment in the central cavity affects substrate conformation. Here, we use the von Hippel-Lindau tumor suppressor protein VHL as a model substrate for studying the action of the GroEL/ES system on a bound polypeptide. Fluorescent labeling of pairs of sites on VHL for fluorescence (Förster) resonant energy transfer (FRET) allows VHL to be used to explore how GroEL binding and GroEL/ES/nucleotide binding affect the substrate conformation. On average, upon binding to GroEL, all pairs of labeling sites experience compaction relative to the unfolded protein while single-molecule FRET distributions show significant heterogeneity. Upon addition of GroES and ATP to close the GroEL cavity, on average further FRET increases occur between the two hydrophobic regions of VHL, accompanied by FRET decreases between the N- and C-termini. This suggests that ATP- and GroES-induced confinement within the GroEL cavity remodels bound polypeptides by causing expansion (or racking) of some regions and compaction of others, most notably, the hydrophobic core. However, single-molecule observations of the specific FRET changes for individual proteins at the moment of ATP/GroES addition reveal that a large fraction of the population shows the opposite behavior; that is, FRET decreases between the hydrophobic regions and FRET increases for the N- and C-termini. Our time-resolved single-molecule analysis reveals the underlying heterogeneity of the action of GroES/EL on a bound polypeptide substrate, which might arise from the random nature of the specific binding to the various identical subunits of GroEL, and might help explain why multiple rounds of binding and hydrolysis are required for some chaperonin substrates.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science Icon for PubMed Central
    Loading ...
    Support Center