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Cell. 1997 Apr 18;89(2):239-50.

Crystal structure of an Hsp90-geldanamycin complex: targeting of a protein chaperone by an antitumor agent.

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Department of Biochemistry and Structural Biology, Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences, New York, New York 10021, USA.


The Hsp90 chaperone is required for the activation of several families of eukaryotic protein kinases and nuclear hormone receptors, many of which are protooncogenic and play a prominent role in cancer. The geldanamycin antibiotic has antiproliferative and antitumor effects, as it binds to Hsp90, inhibits the Hsp90-mediated conformational maturation/refolding reaction, and results in the degradation of Hsp90 substrates. The structure of the geldanamycin-binding domain of Hsp90 (residues 9-232) reveals a pronounced pocket, 15 A deep, that is highly conserved across species. Geldanamycin binds inside this pocket, adopting a compact structure similar to that of a polypeptide chain in a turn conformation. This, and the pocket's similarity to substrate-binding sites, suggest that the pocket binds a portion of the polypeptide substrate and participates in the conformational maturation/refolding reaction.

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