Flexible connection of the N-terminal domain in ClpB modulates substrate binding and the aggregate reactivation efficiency


  • Maria Nagy's current address is Yale University School of Medicine and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, New Haven, CT 06510, USA


ClpB reactivates aggregated proteins in cooperation with DnaK/J. The ClpB monomer contains two nucleotide-binding domains (D1, D2), a coiled-coil domain, and an N-terminal domain attached to D1 with a 17-residue-long unstructured linker containing a Gly-Gly motif. The ClpB-mediated protein disaggregation is linked to translocation of substrates through the central channel in the hexameric ClpB, but the events preceding the translocation are poorly understood. The N-terminal domains form a ring surrounding the entrance to the channel and contribute to the aggregate binding. It was suggested that the N-terminal domain's mobility that is maintained by the unstructured linker might control the efficiency of aggregate reactivation. We produced seven variants of ClpB with modified sequence of the N-terminal linker. To increase the linker's conformational flexibility, we inserted up to four Gly next to the GG motif. To decrease the linker's flexibility, we deleted the GG motif and converted it into GP and PP. We found that none of the linker modifications inhibited the basal ClpB ATPase activity or its capability to form oligomers. However, the modified linker ClpB variants showed lower reactivation rates for aggregated glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase and firefly luciferase and a lower aggregate-binding efficiency than wt ClpB. We conclude that the linker does not merely connect the N-terminal domain, but it supports the chaperone activity of ClpB by contributing to the efficiency of aggregate binding and disaggregation. Moreover, our results suggest that selective pressure on the linker sequence may be crucial for maintaining the optimal efficiency of aggregate reactivation by ClpB. Proteins 2012; © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.