The diversity of the DnaJ/Hsp40 family, the crucial partners for Hsp70 chaperones

Cell Mol Life Sci. 2006 Nov;63(22):2560-70. doi: 10.1007/s00018-006-6192-6.


DnaJ/Hsp40 (heat shock protein 40) proteins have been preserved throughout evolution and are important for protein translation, folding, unfolding, translocation, and degradation, primarily by stimulating the ATPase activity of chaperone proteins, Hsp70s. Because the ATP hydrolysis is essential for the activity of Hsp70s, DnaJ/Hsp40 proteins actually determine the activity of Hsp70s by stabilizing their interaction with substrate proteins. DnaJ/Hsp40 proteins all contain the J domain through which they bind to Hsp70s and can be categorized into three groups, depending on the presence of other domains. Six DnaJ homologs have been identified in Escherichia coli and 22 in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Genome-wide analysis has revealed 41 DnaJ/Hsp40 family members (or putative members) in humans. While 34 contain the typical J domains, 7 bear partially conserved J-like domains, but are still suggested to function as DnaJ/ Hsp40 proteins. DnaJA2b, DnaJB1b, DnaJC2, DnaJC20, and DnaJC21 are named for the first time in this review; all other human DnaJ proteins were dubbed according to their gene names, e.g. DnaJA1 is the human protein named after its gene DNAJA1. This review highlights the progress in studying the domains in DnaJ/Hsp40 proteins, introduces the mechanisms by which they interact with Hsp70s, and stresses their functional diversity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • HSP40 Heat-Shock Proteins / chemistry
  • HSP40 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / chemistry
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Chaperones / chemistry
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary


  • HSP40 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones