The Molecular Chaperone DnaJ Is Required for the Degradation of a Soluble Abnormal Protein in Escherichia coli

H. C. Huang, Michael Y. Sherman, Olga Kandror, Alfred L. Goldberg

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In addition to promoting protein folding and translocation, molecular chaperones of Hsp70/DnaJ families are essential for the selective breakdown of many unfolded proteins. It has been proposed that chaperones function in degradation to maintain the substrates in a soluble form. In Escherichia coli, a nonsecreted alkaline phosphatase mutant that lacks its signal sequence (PhoAΔ2-22) fails to fold in the cytosol and is rapidly degraded at 37°C. We show that PhoAΔ2-22 is degraded by two ATP-dependent proteases, La (Lon) and ClpAP, and breakdown by both is blocked in a dnaJ259-ts mutant at 37°C. Both proteases could be immunoprecipitated with PhoA, but to a much lesser extent in the dnaJ mutant. Therefore, DnaJ appears to promote formation of protease-substrate complexes. DnaJ could be coimmunoprecipitated with PhoA, and the extent of this association directly correlated with its rate of degradation. Although PhoA was not degraded when DnaJ was inactivated, 50% or more of the PhoA remained soluble. PhoA breakdown and solubility did not require ClpB. PhoA degradation was reduced in a thioredoxin-reductase mutant (trxB), which allowed PhoAΔ2-22 to fold into an active form in the cytosol. Introduction of the dnaJ mutation into trxB cells further stabilized PhoA, increased enzyme activity, and left PhoA completely soluble. Thus, DnaJ, although not necessary for folding (or preventing PhoA aggregation), is required for PhoA degradation and must play an active role in this process beyond maintaining the substrate in a soluble form.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3920-3928
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 9 Feb 2001
Externally publishedYes


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