Determinants of structural and functional plasticity of a widely conserved protease chaperone complex

Nat Struct Mol Biol. 2010 Jul;17(7):837-43. doi: 10.1038/nsmb.1839. Epub 2010 Jun 27.


Channeling of misfolded proteins into repair, assembly or degradation pathways is often mediated by complex and multifunctional cellular factors. Despite detailed structural information, the underlying regulatory mechanisms governing these factors are not well understood. The extracytoplasmic heat-shock factor DegP (HtrA) is a well-suited model for addressing mechanistic issues, as it is regulated by the common mechanisms of allostery and activation by oligomerization. Site-directed mutagenesis combined with refolding and oligomerization studies of chemically denatured DegP revealed how substrates trigger the conversion of the resting conformation into the active conformation. Binding of specific peptides to PDZ domain-1 causes a local rearrangement that is allosterically transmitted to the substrate-binding pocket of the protease domain. This activated state readily assembles into larger oligomeric particles, thus stabilizing the catalytically active form and providing a degradation cavity for protein substrates. The implications of these data for the mechanism of protein quality control are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / metabolism*
  • Bacterial Proteins / chemistry*
  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Catalytic Domain
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / chemistry*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / genetics
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • PDZ Domains
  • Peptides / chemistry
  • Peptides / metabolism
  • Periplasmic Proteins / chemistry*
  • Periplasmic Proteins / genetics
  • Periplasmic Proteins / metabolism*
  • Point Mutation
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Folding
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Serine Endopeptidases / chemistry*
  • Serine Endopeptidases / genetics
  • Serine Endopeptidases / metabolism*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Periplasmic Proteins
  • DegP protease
  • Serine Endopeptidases