Modulation of the ATPase activity of the molecular chaperone DnaK by peptides and the DnaJ and GrpE heat shock proteins

Robert Jordan, Roger McMacken

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115 Scopus citations


Previous studies have demonstrated that the Escherichia coli DnaK, DnaJ, and GrpE heat shock proteins participate in the initiation of bacteriophage A DNA replication by mediating the required disassembly of a preinitiation nucleoprotein structure that is formed at the phage replication origin. To gain some understanding in a simpler system of how the DnaJ and GrpE cochaperonins influence the activity of DnaK, we have examined the effect of the cochaperonins on the weak intrinsic ATPase activity of the molecular chaperone DnaK in the presence and absence of peptide effectors. We have found that random sequence peptide chains of 8 or 9 amino acid residues in length yield optimal (10-fold) activation of the DnaK ATPase, whereas peptides with 5 or fewer residues fail to stimulate the ATPase of this bacterial hsp70 homologue. Furthermore, we have discovered that those peptides that interact best with DnaK, as judged by their K(A) as activators of ATP hydrolysis by DnaK, also act as strong inhibitors of A DNA replication in vitro. The inhibitory effect of peptides on A DNA replication was overcome by increasing the concentration of DnaK in the replication system. Diminished inhibition was also found when the replication system was supplemented with GrpE cochaperonin, a protein known to increase the effectiveness of DnaK action in A DNA replication. These and other results suggest that the peptide-binding site of DnaK is required for its function in A DNA replication. Apparently, peptides sequester free DnaK protein and block A DNA replication by reducing the amount of DnaK that is free to mediate disassembly of nucleoprotein preinitiation structures. In related studies, we have found that DnaJ, like short peptides, activates the intrinsic ATPase activity of DnaK. DnaJ, however, is substantially more potent in this regard, since it activates DnaK at concentrations 1000-fold below those required for a peptide of random sequence. By itself, the GrpE cochaperonin has no effect on the peptide-independent ATPase activity of DnaK, but GrpE does vigorously stimulate the peptide-dependent ATPase of the DnaK chaperone. Under steady- state conditions, the V(max) of ATP hydrolysis by DnaK was elevated approximately 40-fold by the presence of GrpE and saturating levels of peptides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4563-4569
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 3 1995
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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