Molecular chaperones Hsp70 and Hsp90 are in part responsible for maintaining the viability of cells by facilitating the folding and maturation process of many essential client proteins. The ubiquitin ligase C-terminus of Hsc70 interacting protein (CHIP) has been shown in vitro and in vivo to associate with Hsp70 and Hsp90 and ubiquitinate them, thus targeting them to the proteasome for degradation. Here, we study one facet of this CHIP-mediated turnover by determining the lysine residues on human Hsp70 and Hsp90 ubiquitinated by CHIP. We performed in vitro ubiquitination reactions of the chaperones using purified components and analyzed the samples by tandem mass spectrometry to identify modified lysine residues. Six such ubiquitination sites were identified on Hsp70 (K325, K451, K524, K526, K559, and K561) and 13 ubiquitinated lysine residues were found on Hsp90 (K107, K204, K219, K275, K284, K347, K399, K477, K481, K538, K550, K607, and K623). We mapped the ubiquitination sites on homology models of almost full-length human Hsp70 and Hsp90, which were found to cluster in certain regions of the structures. Furthermore, we determined that CHIP forms polyubiquitin chains on Hsp70 and Hsp90 linked via K6, K11, K48, and K63. These findings clarify the mode of ubiquitination of Hsp70 and Hsp90 by CHIP, which ultimately leads to their degradation.
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