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Concept: Co-chaperone


Heat-shock protein 90 (Hsp90) is an ATP-dependent molecular chaperone that associates dynamically with various co-chaperones during its chaperone cycle. Here we analyzed the role of the activating co-chaperone Aha1 in the progression of the yeast Hsp90 chaperone cycle and identified a critical ternary Hsp90 complex containing the co-chaperones Aha1 and Cpr6. Aha1 accelerates the intrinsically slow conformational transitions of Hsp90 to an N-terminally associated state but does not fully close the nucleotide-binding pocket yet. Cpr6 increases the affinity between Aha1 and Hsp90 and further stimulates the Hsp90 ATPase activity. Synergistically, Aha1 and Cpr6 displace the inhibitory co-chaperone Sti1 from Hsp90. To complete the cycle, Aha1 is released by the co-chaperone p23. Thus, at distinct steps during the Hsp90 chaperone cycle, co-chaperones selectively trap statistically distributed Hsp90 conformers and thus turn Hsp90 into a deterministic machine.

Concepts: Proteins, Protein, Chaperone, Proteasome, Heat shock protein, Hsp90, Chaperonin, Co-chaperone


The Hsp90 chaperone is a central node of protein homeostasis, activating many diverse client proteins. Hsp90 functions as a molecular clamp that closes and opens in response to the binding and hydrolysis of ATP. Crystallographic studies have defined distinct conformational states of the mechanistic core, implying structural changes that have not yet been observed in solution. Here we engineered one-nanometer fluorescence probes based on photoinduced electron transfer into the yeast Hsp90 to observe these motions. We found that the ATPase activity of the chaperone was reflected in the kinetics of specific structural rearrangements at remote positions that acted cooperatively. Nanosecond single-molecule fluorescence fluctuation analysis uncovered that critical structural elements that undergo rearrangement were mobile on a sub-millisecond time scale. We identified a two-step mechanism for lid closure over the nucleotide-binding pocket. The activating co-chaperone Aha1 mobilized the lid of apo Hsp90, suggesting an early role in the catalytic cycle.

Concepts: Proteins, Protein, Electron, Metabolism, Protein folding, Chaperone, Heat shock protein, Co-chaperone


Small heat shock proteins (sHsps) are ubiquitous molecular chaperones that prevent the aggregation of unfolding proteins during proteotoxic stress. In Caenorhabditis elegans, Sip1 is the only sHsp exclusively expressed in oocytes and embryos. Here, we demonstrate that Sip1 is essential for heat shock survival of reproducing adults and embryos. X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy revealed that Sip1 exists in a range of well-defined globular assemblies consisting of two half-spheres, each made of dimeric “spokes.” Strikingly, the oligomeric distribution of Sip1 as well as its chaperone activity depend on pH, with a trend toward smaller species and higher activity at acidic conditions such as present in nematode eggs. The analysis of the interactome shows that Sip1 has a specific substrate spectrum including proteins that are essential for embryo development.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, Developmental biology, Chaperone, Heat shock protein, Hsp90, Chaperonin, Co-chaperone


Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the selective loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord, brain stem, and motor cortex. Mutations in superoxide dismutase (SOD1) are associated with familial ALS and lead to SOD1 protein misfolding and aggregation. Here we show that the molecular chaperone, HSJ1 (DNAJB2), mutations in which cause distal hereditary motor neuropathy, can reduce mutant SOD1 aggregation and improve motor neuron survival in mutant SOD1 models of ALS. Overexpression of human HSJ1a (hHSJ1a) in vivo in motor neurons of SOD1(G93A) transgenic mice ameliorated disease. In particular, there was a significant improvement in muscle force, increased motor unit number and enhanced motor neuron survival. hHSJ1a was present in a complex with SOD1(G93A) and led to reduced SOD1 aggregation at late stages of disease progression. We also observed altered ubiquitin immunoreactivity in the double transgenic animals, suggesting that ubiquitin modification might be important for the observed improvements. In a cell model of SOD1(G93A) aggregation, HSJ1a preferentially bound to mutant SOD1, enhanced SOD1 ubiquitylation and reduced SOD1 aggregation in a J-domain and ubiquitin interaction motif (UIM) dependent manner. Collectively, the data suggest that HSJ1a acts on mutant SOD1 through a combination of chaperone, co-chaperone and pro-ubiquitylation activity. These results show that targeting SOD1 protein misfolding and aggregation in vivo can be neuroprotective and suggest that manipulation of DnaJ molecular chaperones might be useful in the treatment of ALS.

Concepts: Spinal cord, Gene expression, Superoxide dismutase, Protein folding, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Chaperone, Protein targeting, Co-chaperone


Hsp90 belongs to a family of some of the most highly expressed heat shock proteins that function as molecular chaperones to protect the proteome not only from the heat shock but also from other misfolding events. As many client proteins of Hsp90 are involved in oncogenesis, this chaperone has been the focus of intense research efforts. Yet, we lack structural information for how Hsp90 interacts with co-chaperones and client proteins. Here, we developed a mass-spectrometry-based approach that allowed quantitative measurements of in vitro and in vivo effects of small-molecule inhibitors on Hsp90 conformation, and interaction with co-chaperones and client proteins. From this analysis, we were able to derive structural models for how Hsp90 engages its interaction partners in vivo, and how different drugs affect these structures. In addition, the methodology described here offers a new approach to probe the effects of virtually any inhibitor treatment on the proteome level.

Concepts: Proteins, Protein, Protein folding, Chaperone, Proteasome, Heat shock protein, Hsp90, Co-chaperone


The mechanisms underlying tau-related synaptic and cognitive deficits and the interrelationships between tau species, their clearance pathways and synaptic impairments remain poorly understood. To gain insight into these mechanisms, we examined these interrelationships in aged non-mutant genomic human tau (htau) mice, with established tau pathology and neuron loss. We also examined how these interrelationships changed with an intervention by feeding mice either a control diet or one containing the brain permeable amyloid- and tau-binding molecule curcumin. Transgene dependent elevations in soluble and insoluble phospho-tau monomer and soluble tau dimers accompanied deficits in behavior, hippocampal excitatory synaptic markers and molecular chaperones (heat shock proteins, HSPs) involved in tau degradation and microtubule stability. In htau mice but not control mice, HSP70, HSP70/HSP72 and HSP90 were selectively reduced in membrane- enriched fractions but not in cytosolic fractions. The synaptic proteins PSD95 and NR2B were reduced in dendritic fields and redistributed into perikarya, corresponding to changes observed by immunoblot. Curcumin selectively suppressed levels of soluble tau dimers, but not of insoluble and monomeric phospho-tau, while correcting behavioral, synaptic and HSP deficits. Treatment increased PSD95 co-immunoprecipitating with NR2B and increased transgene-independent HSPs implicated in tau clearance. It elevated HSP90 and HSC70 without increasing HSP mRNAs, that is without induction of the heat shock response. Instead curcumin differentially impacted HSP90 client kinases, selectively reducing fyn, without reducing Akt. In summary curcumin reduced soluble tau and elevated HSPs involved in tau clearance, showing that even after tangles have formed, tau-dependent behavioral and synaptic deficits can be corrected.

Concepts: Proteins, Protein, Chaperone, Proteasome, Heat shock protein, Hsp90, Co-chaperone


Heat shock proteins (HSPs), also known as molecular chaperones, participate in important cellular processes, such as protein aggregation, disaggregation, folding, and unfolding. HSPs have cytoprotective functions that are commonly explained by their antiapoptotic role. Their involvement in anticancer drug resistance has been the focus of intense research efforts, and the relationship between HSP induction and DNA repair mechanisms has been in the spotlight during the past decades. Because DNA is permanently subject to damage, many DNA repair pathways are involved in the recognition and removal of a diverse array of DNA lesions. Hence, DNA repair mechanisms are key to maintain genome stability. In addition, the interactome network of HSPs with DNA repair proteins has become an exciting research field and so their use as emerging targets for cancer therapy. This article provides a historical overview of the participation of HSPs in DNA repair mechanisms as part of their molecular chaperone capabilities.

Concepts: DNA, Protein, DNA repair, Protein folding, Chaperone, Heat shock protein, Protein targeting, Co-chaperone


Bacterial blight caused by Xanthomonas oryzae pv. oryzae (Xoo) is one of the most devastating diseases of rice. However, the molecular mechanism underpinning the Xoo resistance of rice is still not fully understood. Here, we report that a class II small heat shock protein gene, OsHsp18.0, whose expression was differentially induced between a resistant and a susceptible variety in response to Xoo infection, plays positive roles in both biotic and abiotic resistance. The molecular chaperone activity of OsHsp18.0 was confirmed by a bacterium-expressed glutathione S-transferase fusion protein. Overexpression of OsHsp18.0 in a susceptible rice variety significantly enhanced its resistance to multiple Xoo strains, whereas silencing of OsHsp18.0 in a resistant variety drastically increased its susceptibility. The enhanced Xoo resistance in OsHsp18.0-overexpressing lines was positively correlated with the sensitized salicylic acid-dependent defense responses. In addition to disease resistance, the OsHsp18.0 overexpressing and silencing lines exhibited enhanced and reduced tolerance, respectively, to heat and salt treatments. The subcellular localization study revealed that the green fluorescent protein-OsHsp18.0 was enriched on the nuclear envelope, suggesting a potential role of OsHsp18.0 in the nucleo-cytoplasmic trafficking. Together, our results reveal that the rice OsHsp18.0 is a positive regulator in both biotic and abiotic defense responses.

Concepts: Protein, Gene expression, Molecular biology, Endoplasmic reticulum, Chaperone, Heat shock protein, Plant pathogens and diseases, Co-chaperone


Heat shock proteins of 90 kDa (Hsp90) are molecular chaperones essential for protein homeostasis. Besides chaperone activity, Hsp90 exhibits other cellular functions at membranes, yet how it interacts with membranes remains elusive. We report here that Hsp90B1 interacts with phospholipid membranes. We first cloned the full-length open reading frame of Hsp90B1 from A. platyrhnchos (ApHsp90B1), and the gene was then heterologously expressed and purified. SPR analysis show the purified ApHsp90B1 interacts with phospholipid membranes with high affinity (KD 176±25nM), and the interaction occurs over a wide range of pH, which is especially distinct under acidic conditions. Tryptophan fluorescence and far-UV CD spectra studies find that the interaction of ApHsp90B1 with phospholipid membrane induces microenvironment changes of tryptophan residues and conformational change of some regions in ApHsp90B1, which might be the reason of its increased ATPase activity upon addition phospholipid vesicles. Importantly, the interaction of ApHsp90B1 with phospholipid vesicles significantly reduces lipolysis of the membrane phospholipid, suggesting that the interaction of Hsp90B1 with membrane could preserve membrane integrity. The present study therefore demonstrates for the first time that Hsp90B1 exhibits high affinity for phospholipid membrane and suggest Hsp90B1 play an important role in membrane-stabilizing via its interaction with membrane phospholipids.

Concepts: Protein, Cell membrane, Chaperone, Proteasome, Heat shock protein, Lipid bilayer, Hsp90, Co-chaperone


Early stage assays that evaluate monoclonal antibody drug-like properties serve as valuable tools for selection of lead candidates. One liability for clinical development, off-target reactivity, is often assessed by binding to a mixture or panel of noncognate proteins. While robust, these mixes are often ill-defined, and can suffer from issues such as lot-to-lot variability. In this study, we discovered in immunoprecipitation experiments that certain chaperones are present in one of these mixtures; we then explored the use of recombinant chaperone proteins as well-characterized agents to predict antibody nonspecificity. Antibody binding to the heat shock proteins HSP70, HSP90, or trigger factor all served as predictors of cross-interaction propensity, with HSP90 providing the greatest ability to predict antibody clearance rates in mouse. Individual chaperone binding correlates surprisingly closely with binding to complex cell extracts, with the exception of a few “false negatives” (assuming a complex cell extract as the “true” value). As defined reagents, these chaperone reagents present advantages for high throughput assays of nonspecificity.

Concepts: Protein, Endoplasmic reticulum, Chaperone, Proteasome, Heat shock protein, Hsp90, Chaperonin, Co-chaperone