Conservation among HSP60 sequences in relation to structure, function, and evolution

Protein Sci. 2000 Mar;9(3):476-86. doi: 10.1110/ps.9.3.476.


The chaperonin HSP60 (GroEL) proteins are essential in eubacterial genomes and in eukaryotic organelles. Functional regions inferred from mutation studies and the Escherichia coli GroEL 3D crystal complexes are evaluated in a multiple alignment across 43 diverse HSP60 sequences, centering on ATP/ADP and Mg2+ binding sites, on residues interacting with substrate, on GroES contact positions, on interface regions between monomers and domains, and on residues important in allosteric conformational changes. The most evolutionary conserved residues relate to the ATP/ADP and Mg2+ binding sites. Hydrophobic residues that contribute in substrate binding are also significantly conserved. A large number of charged residues line the central cavity of the GroEL-GroES complex in the substrate-releasing conformation. These span statistically significant intra- and inter-monomer three-dimensional (3D) charge clusters that are highly conserved among sequences and presumably play an important role interacting with the substrate. Unaligned short segments between blocks of alignment are generally exposed at the outside wall of the Anfinsen cage complex. The multiple alignment reveals regions of divergence common to specific evolutionary groups. For example, rickettsial sequences diverge in the ATP/ADP binding domain and gram-positive sequences diverge in the allosteric transition domain. The evolutionary information of the multiple alignment proffers attractive sites for mutational studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / chemistry
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Binding Sites
  • Chaperonin 60 / chemistry*
  • Conserved Sequence
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Magnesium / chemistry
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary


  • Chaperonin 60
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Magnesium