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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1994 Mar 15;91(6):2066-70.

A gene encoding a DnaK/hsp70 homolog in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of California, Irvine 92717.


Eukaryotic organisms have been shown to have multiple forms of hsp70-class stress-related proteins, but only a single family member, DnaK, has been found in prokaryotes. We report here the identification of a heat shock cognate gene, designated hsc, in Escherichia coli. The amino acid sequence deduced from hsc predicts a 65,647-Da polypeptide having 41% sequence identity with DnaK from E. coli, and overexpression produces a protein (Hsc66) with properties similar to DnaK. In contrast to dnaK, however, the hsc gene lacks a consensus heat shock promoter sequence, and expression is not induced by elevated temperature. The hsc gene is located near 54 min on the physical map, immediately upstream of the fdx gene, which encodes a [2Fe-2S] ferredoxin; evidence is presented that the hsc and fdx genes make up a bicistronic operon in which expression of the ferredoxin is coupled to that of Hsc66. The function of Hsc66 is not known, but the coregulation of its expression with that of ferredoxin suggests the possibility of a specific role in association with the ferredoxin protein.

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