Kinetics of Molecular Chaperone Action

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Abstract

Molecular chaperones of the Hsp70 type transiently sequester unfolded segments of proteins and promote their correct folding.Target peptides were labeled with an environmentally sensitive fluorophore so that their binding to the molecular chaperone DnaK of Escherichia coli could be followed in real time. The two-step process was characterized by relaxation times of 27 seconds and 200 seconds with 2 mu M DnaK and 0.1 mu M ligand at 25 degrees C. In the presence of adenosine triphosphate, the formation of the complex was greatly accelerated and appeared to be a single-exponential process with a relaxation time of 0.4 second. The binding-release cycle of DnaK thus occurs in the time range of polypeptide chain elongation and folding and is too fast to be stoichiometrically coupled to the adenosine triphosphatase activity of the chaperone (turnover number, 0.13 per minute at 30 degrees C).

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