The crystal structure of Escherichia coli heat shock protein YedU reveals three potential catalytic active sites

Protein Sci. 2003 Oct;12(10):2303-11. doi: 10.1110/ps.03121403.


The mRNA of Escherichia coli yedU gene is induced 31-fold upon heat shock. The 31-kD YedU protein, also calls Hsp31, is highly conserved in several human pathogens and has chaperone activity. We solved the crystal structure of YedU at 2.2 A resolution. YedU monomer has an alpha/beta/alpha sandwich domain and a small alpha/beta domain. YedU is a dimer in solution, and its crystal structure indicates that a significant amount of surface area is buried upon dimerization. There is an extended hydrophobic patch that crosses the dimer interface on the surface of the protein. This hydrophobic patch is likely the substrate-binding site responsible for the chaperone activity. The structure also reveals a potential protease-like catalytic triad composed of Cys184, His185, and Asp213, although no enzymatic activity could be identified. YedU coordinates a metal ion using His85, His122, and Glu90. This 2-His-1-carboxylate motif is present in carboxypeptidase A (a zinc enzyme), and a number of dioxygenases and hydroxylases that utilize iron as a cofactor, suggesting another potential function for YedU.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Motifs / genetics
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Aspartic Acid / chemistry
  • Aspartic Acid / genetics
  • Binding Sites / genetics
  • Catalytic Domain* / genetics
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Cysteine / chemistry
  • Cysteine / genetics
  • Dimerization
  • Electronic Data Processing
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / chemistry*
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / genetics
  • Escherichia coli Proteins / physiology
  • Glutamic Acid / chemistry
  • Glutamic Acid / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / chemistry*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / physiology
  • Histidine / chemistry
  • Histidine / genetics
  • Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Chaperones / chemistry*
  • Molecular Chaperones / genetics
  • Molecular Chaperones / physiology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Structure, Quaternary
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Recombinant Proteins / chemistry
  • Recombinant Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Structural Homology, Protein
  • Zinc / chemistry


  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • hchA protein, E coli
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Glutamic Acid
  • Histidine
  • Zinc
  • Cysteine

Associated data

  • PDB/1ONS