The highly coordinated interactions of several molecular chaperones, including hsp70 and hsp90, are required for the folding and conformational regulation of a variety of proteins in eukaryotic cells, such as steroid hormone receptors and many other signal transduction regulators. The protein called Hop serves as an adaptor protein for hsp70 and hsp90 and is thought to optimize their functional cooperation. Here we characterize the assembly of the hsp70-Hop-hsp90 complex and reveal interactions that cause conformational changes between the proteins in the complex. We found that hsp40 plays an integral role in the assembly by enhancing the binding of hsp70 to the Hop complex. This is accomplished by stimulating the conversion of hsp70-ATP to hsp70-ADP, the hsp70 conformation favored for Hop binding. The hsp70-Hop-hsp90 complex is highly dynamic, as has been observed previously for hsp90 in its interaction with client proteins. Nonetheless, hsp90 binds with high affinity to Hop (K(d) = 90 nm), and this binding is not affected by hsp70. hsp70 binds with lower affinity to Hop (K(d) = 1.3 microm) on its own, but this affinity is increased (K(d) = 250 nm) in the presence of hsp90. hsp90 also reduces the number of hsp70 binding sites on the Hop dimer from two sites in the absence of hsp90 to one site in its presence. Hop can inhibit the ATP binding and p23 binding activity of hsp90, yet this can be reversed if hsp70 is present in the complex. Taken together, our results suggest that the assembly of hsp70-Hop-hsp90 complexes is selective and influences the conformational state of each protein.