The Escherichia coli Hsp40 DnaJ and Hsp70 DnaK cooperate in the binding of proteins at intermediate stages of folding, assembly, and translocation across membranes. Binding of protein substrates to the DnaK C-terminal domain is controlled by ATP binding and hydrolysis in the N-terminal ATPase domain. The interaction of DnaJ with DnaK is mediated at least in part by the highly conserved N-terminal J-domain of DnaJ that includes residues 2-75. Heteronuclear NMR experiments with uniformly 15N-enriched DnaJ2-75 indicate that the chemical environment of residues located in helix II and the flanking loops is perturbed on interaction with DnaK or a truncated DnaK molecule, DnaK2-388. NMR signals corresponding to these residues broaden and exhibit changes in chemical shifts in the presence of DnaK(MgADP). Addition of MgATP largely reversed the broadening, indicating that NMR signals of DnaJ2-75 respond to ATP-dependent changes in DnaK. The J-domain interaction is localized to the ATPase domain of DnaK and is likely to be dominated by electrostatic interactions. The results suggest that the J-domain tethers DnaK to DnaJ-bound substrates, which DnaK then binds with its C-terminal peptide-binding domain.