Differential effects of co-chaperonin homologs on cpn60 oligomers

Anat L. Bonshtien, Avital Parnas, Rajach Sharkia, Adina Niv, Itzhak Mizrahi, Abdussalam Azem*, Celeste Weiss

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we have investigated the relationship between chaperonin/co-chaperonin binding, ATP hydrolysis, and protein refolding in heterologous chaperonin systems from bacteria, chloroplast, and mitochondria. We characterized two types of chloroplast cpn60 oligomers, ch-cpn60 composed of α and β subunits (α7β7 ch-cpn60) and one composed of all β subunits (β14 ch-cpn60). In terms of ATPase activity, the rate of ATP hydrolysis increased with protein concentration up to 60 μM, reflecting a concentration at which the oligomers are stable. At high concentrations of cpn60, all cpnl0 homologs inhibited ATPase activity of α7β7ch-cpn60. In contrast, ATPase of β14 ch-cpn60 was inhibited only by mitochondrial cpnl0, supporting previous reports showing that β14 is functional only with mitochondrial cpn10 and not with other cpn10 homologs. Surprisingly, direct binding assays showed that both ch-cpn60 oligomer types bind to bacterial, mitochondrial, and chloroplast cpn10 homologs with an equal apparent affinity. Moreover, mitochondrial cpn60 binds chloroplast cpn20 with which it is not able to refold denatured proteins. Protein refolding experiments showed that in such instances, the bound protein is released in a conformation that is not able to refold. The presence of glycerol, or subsequent addition of mitochondrial cpn10, allows us to recover enzymatic activity of the substrate protein. Thus, in our systems, the formation of co-chaperonin/ chaperonin complexes does not necessarily lead to protein folding. By using heterologous oligomer systems, we are able to separate the functions of binding and refolding in order to better understand the chaperonin mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-519
Number of pages11
JournalCell Stress and Chaperones
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2009


  • Chaperonin
  • Chloroplast
  • Co-chaperonin
  • Cpn10
  • Cpn20
  • Cpn60
  • Groel
  • Groes
  • Mitochondria
  • Protein folding


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