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Cell Rep. 2012 Mar 29;1(3):251-64. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2011.12.007. Epub 2012 Mar 8.

DnaK functions as a central hub in the E. coli chaperone network.

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Department of Cellular Biochemistry, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, 82152 Martinsried, Germany.


Cellular chaperone networks prevent potentially toxic protein aggregation and ensure proteome integrity. Here, we used Escherichia coli as a model to understand the organization of these networks, focusing on the cooperation of the DnaK system with the upstream chaperone Trigger factor (TF) and the downstream GroEL. Quantitative proteomics revealed that DnaK interacts with at least ~700 mostly cytosolic proteins, including ~180 relatively aggregation-prone proteins that utilize DnaK extensively during and after initial folding. Upon deletion of TF, DnaK interacts increasingly with ribosomal and other small, basic proteins, while its association with large multidomain proteins is reduced. DnaK also functions prominently in stabilizing proteins for subsequent folding by GroEL. These proteins accumulate on DnaK upon GroEL depletion and are then degraded, thus defining DnaK as a central organizer of the chaperone network. Combined loss of DnaK and TF causes proteostasis collapse with disruption of GroEL function, defective ribosomal biogenesis, and extensive aggregation of large proteins.

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