Research Articles

Structural Analysis of Substrate Binding by the Molecular Chaperone DnaK

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Science  14 Jun 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5268, pp. 1606-1614
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5268.1606


DnaK and other members of the 70-kilodalton heat-shock protein (hsp70) family promote protein folding, interaction, and translocation, both constitutively and in response to stress, by binding to unfolded polypeptide segments. These proteins have two functional units: a substrate-binding portion binds the polypeptide, and an adenosine triphosphatase portion facilitates substrate exchange. The crystal structure of a peptide complex with the substrate-binding unit of DnaK has now been determined at 2.0 Å resolution. The structure consists of a β-sandwich subdomain followed by α-helical segments. The peptide is bound to DnaK in an extended conformation through a channel defined by loops from the β sandwich. An α-helical domain stabilizes the complex, but does not contact the peptide directly. This domain is rotated in the molecules of a second crystal lattice, which suggests a model of conformation-dependent substrate binding that features a latch mechanism for maintaining long lifetime complexes.

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