Chaperone activity of a chimeric GroEL protein that can exist in a single or double ring form

Annette Erbse, Ofer Yifrach, Susan Jones, Peter A. Lund

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


The molecular chaperone GroEL is a protein complex consisting of two rings each of seven identical subunits. It is thought to act by providing a cavity in which a protein substrate can fold into a form that has no propensity to aggregate. Substrate proteins are sequestered in the cavity while they fold, and prevented from diffusion out of the cavity by the action of the GroES complex, that caps the open end of the cavity. A key step in the mechanism of action of GroEL is the transmission of a conformational change between the two rings, induced by the binding of nucleotides to the GroEL ring opposite to the one containing the polypeptide substrate. This conformational change then leads to the discharge of GroES from GroEL, enabling polypeptide release. Single ring forms of GroEL are thus predicted to be unable to chaperone the folding of GroES-dependent substrates efficiently, since they are unable to discharge the bound GroES and unable to release folded protein. We describe here a detailed functional analysis of chimeric GroEL protein, which we show to exist in solution in equilibrium between single and double ring forms. We demonstrate that whereas the double ring form of the GroEL chimera functions effectively in refolding of a GroES- dependent substrate, the single ring form does not. The single ring form of the chimera, however, is able to chaperone the folding of a substrate that does not require GroES for its efficient folding. We further demonstrate that the double ring structure of GroEL is likely to be required for its activity in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20351-20357
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number29
StatePublished - 16 Jul 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Chaperone activity of a chimeric GroEL protein that can exist in a single or double ring form'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this