Research ArticleSTRUCTURAL BIOLOGY

A molecular mechanism of chaperone-client recognition

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Science Advances  16 Nov 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 11, e1601625
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601625

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Abstract

Molecular chaperones are essential in aiding client proteins to fold into their native structure and in maintaining cellular protein homeostasis. However, mechanistic aspects of chaperone function are still not well understood at the atomic level. We use nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy to elucidate the mechanism underlying client recognition by the adenosine triphosphate-independent chaperone Spy at the atomic level and derive a structural model for the chaperone-client complex. Spy interacts with its partially folded client Im7 by selective recognition of flexible, locally frustrated regions in a dynamic fashion. The interaction with Spy destabilizes a partially folded client but spatially compacts an unfolded client conformational ensemble. By increasing client backbone dynamics, the chaperone facilitates the search for the native structure. A comparison of the interaction of Im7 with two other chaperones suggests that the underlying principle of recognizing frustrated segments is of a fundamental nature.

Keywords
  • Chaperone protein
  • protein-protein interaction
  • protein folding
  • spy
  • Im7
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • protein dynamics

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