The Hsc66-Hsc20 chaperone system in Escherichia coli: chaperone activity and interactions with the DnaK-DnaJ-grpE system

J Bacteriol. 1998 Dec;180(24):6617-24. doi: 10.1128/JB.180.24.6617-6624.1998.


Hsc66, a stress-70 protein, and Hsc20, a J-type accessory protein, comprise a newly described Hsp70-type chaperone system in addition to DnaK-DnaJ-GrpE in Escherichia coli. Because endogenous substrates for the Hsc66-Hsc20 system have not yet been identified, we investigated chaperone-like activities of Hsc66 and Hsc20 by their ability to suppress aggregation of denatured model substrate proteins, such as rhodanese, citrate synthase, and luciferase. Hsc66 suppressed aggregation of rhodanese and citrate synthase, and ATP caused effects consistent with complex destabilization typical of other Hsp70-type chaperones. Differences in the activities of Hsc66 and DnaK, however, suggest that these chaperones have dissimilar substrate specificity profiles. Hsc20, unlike DnaJ, did not exhibit intrinsic chaperone activity and appears to function solely as a regulatory cochaperone protein for Hsc66. Possible interactions between the Hsc66-Hsc20 and DnaK-DnaJ-GrpE chaperone systems were also investigated by measuring the effects of cochaperone proteins on Hsp70 ATPase activities. The nucleotide exchange factor GrpE did not stimulate the ATPase activity of Hsc66 and thus appears to function specifically with DnaK. Cross-stimulation by the cochaperones Hsc20 and DnaJ was observed, but the requirement for supraphysiological concentrations makes it unlikely that these interactions occur significantly in vivo. Together these results suggest that Hsc66-Hsc20 and DnaK-DnaJ-GrpE comprise separate molecular chaperone systems with distinct, nonoverlapping cellular functions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism*
  • Escherichia coli / metabolism
  • Escherichia coli Proteins*
  • HSP40 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism*
  • Molecular Chaperones / metabolism*
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • DnaJ protein, E coli
  • Escherichia coli Proteins
  • GrpE protein, Bacteria
  • GrpE protein, E coli
  • HSP40 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HSP70 Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • HscB protein, E coli
  • Molecular Chaperones
  • hscA protein, E coli
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • dnaK protein, E coli