Direct comparison of a stable isolated Hsp70 substrate-binding domain in the empty and substrate-bound states.

Research paper by Joanna F JF Swain, Edda G EG Schulz, Lila M LM Gierasch

Indexed on: 09 Nov '05Published on: 09 Nov '05Published in: Journal of Biological Chemistry


The Hsp70 family of molecular chaperones acts to prevent protein misfolding, import proteins into organelles, unravel protein aggregates, and enhance cell survival under stress conditions. These activities are all mediated by recognition of diverse hydrophobic sequences via a C-terminal substrate-binding domain. ATP-binding/hydrolysis by the N-terminal ATPase domain regulates the interconversion of the substrate-binding domain between low and high affinity conformations. The empty state of the substrate-binding domain has been difficult to study because of its propensity to bind nearly any available protein chain, even if only modestly hydrophobic. We have generated a new stable construct of the substrate-binding domain from the Escherichia coli Hsp70, DnaK, which has enabled us to compare the empty and peptide-bound conformations using NMR chemical shift analysis and hydrogen-deuterium exchange. We have determined that the empty state is, overall, quite similar to the peptide-bound state, contrary to a previous report. Peptide binding leads to a subtle alteration in the packing of the alpha-helical lid relative to the beta-subdomain. Significantly, we have shown that the chemical shifts of the substrate-binding domain and the ATPase domain do not change when they are placed together in a two-domain construct, whether or not peptide is bound, suggesting that, in the absence of nucleotide, the two domains of E. coli DnaK do not interact. We conclude that the isolated substrate-binding domain exists in a stable high affinity state in the absence of influence from a nucleotide-bound ATPase domain.