Hsp40 family members regulate Hsp70s ability to bind nonnative polypeptides and thereby play an essential role in cell physiology. Type I and type II Hsp40s, such as yeast Ydj1 and Sis1, form chaperone pairs with cytosolic Hsp70 Ssa1 that fold proteins with different efficiencies and carry out specific cellular functions. The mechanism by which Ydj1 and Sis1 specify Hsp70 functions is not clear. Ydj1 and Sis1 share a high degree of sequence identity in their amino and carboxyl terminal ends, but each contains a structurally unique and centrally located protein module that is implicated in chaperone function. To test whether the chaperone modules of Ydj1 and Sis1 function in the specification of Hsp70 action, we constructed a set of chimeric Hsp40s in which the chaperone domains of Ydj1 and Sis1 were swapped to form YSY and SYS. Purified SYS and YSY exhibited protein-folding activity and substrate specificity that mimicked that of Ydj1 and Sis1, respectively. In in vivo studies, YSY exhibited a gain of function and, unlike Ydj1, could complement the lethal phenotype of sis1 Delta and facilitate maintenance of the prion [RNQ+]. Ydj1 and Sis1 contain exchangeable chaperone modules that assist in specification of Hsp70 function.