Understanding the functional interplay between mammalian mitochondrial Hsp70 chaperone machine components

J Biol Chem. 2010 Jun 18;285(25):19472-82. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M110.105957. Epub 2010 Apr 14.


Mitochondria biogenesis requires the import of several precursor proteins that are synthesized in the cytosol. The mitochondrial heat shock protein 70 (mtHsp70) machinery components are highly conserved among eukaryotes, including humans. However, the functional properties of human mtHsp70 machinery components have not been characterized among all eukaryotic families. To study the functional interactions, we have reconstituted the components of the mtHsp70 chaperone machine (Hsp70/J-protein/GrpE/Hep) and systematically analyzed in vitro conditions for biochemical functions. We observed that the sequence-specific interaction of human mtHsp70 toward mitochondrial client proteins differs significantly from its yeast counterpart Ssc1. Interestingly, the helical lid of human mtHsp70 was found dispensable to the binding of P5 peptide as compared with the other Hsp70s. We observed that the two human mitochondrial matrix J-protein splice variants differentially regulate the mtHsp70 chaperone cycle. Strikingly, our results demonstrated that human Hsp70 escort protein (Hep) possesses a unique ability to stimulate the ATPase activity of mtHsp70 as well as to prevent the aggregation of unfolded client proteins similar to J-proteins. We observed that Hep binds with the C terminus of mtHsp70 in a full-length context and this interaction is distinctly different from unfolded client-specific or J-protein binding. In addition, we found that the interaction of Hep at the C terminus of mtHsp70 is regulated by the helical lid region. However, the interaction of Hep at the ATPase domain of the human mtHsp70 is mutually exclusive with J-proteins, thus promoting a similar conformational change that leads to ATPase stimulation. Additionally, we highlight the biochemical defects of the mtHsp70 mutant (G489E) associated with a myelodysplastic syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate / chemistry
  • Alternative Splicing
  • Animals
  • Anisotropy
  • Cattle
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence / methods
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Chaperones / chemistry
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Thiosulfate Sulfurtransferase / chemistry


  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • Peptides
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Thiosulfate Sulfurtransferase