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Mapping the conformation of a client protein through the Hsp70 functional cycle.

Authors: Ashok A. Sekhar, Rina R. Rosenzweig, Guillaume G. Bouvignies, Lewis E LE. Kay
Published: 08/03/2015, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America


The 70 kDa heat shock protein (Hsp70) chaperone system is ubiquitous, highly conserved, and involved in a myriad of diverse cellular processes. Its function relies on nucleotide-dependent interactions with client proteins, yet the structural features of folding-competent substrates in their Hsp70-bound state remain poorly understood. Here we use NMR spectroscopy to study the human telomere repeat binding factor 1 (hTRF1) in complex with Escherichia coli Hsp70 (DnaK). In the complex, hTRF1 is globally unfolded with up to 40% helical secondary structure in regions distal to the binding site. Very similar conformational ensembles are observed for hTRF1 bound to ATP-, ADP- and nucleotide-free DnaK. The patterns in substrate helicity mirror those found in the unfolded state in the absence of denaturants except near the site of chaperone binding, demonstrating that DnaK-bound hTRF1 retains its intrinsic structural preferences. To our knowledge, our study presents the first atomic resolution structural characterization of a client protein bound to each of the three nucleotide states of DnaK and establishes that the large structural changes in DnaK and the associated energy that accompanies ATP binding and hydrolysis do not affect the overall conformation of the bound substrate protein.

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