Ligand-induced conformational changes in the apical domain of the chaperonin GroEL

Don L. Gibbons, Paul M. Horowitz

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19 Scopus citations


Although the role of nucleotides in the catalytic cycle of the GroESL chaperonin system has been extensively studied, the molecular effects of nucleotides in modulating exposure of sites on GroEL has not been thoroughly investigated. We report here that nucleotides (ATP, ADP, or adenosine 5'- (β,γ-imino)triphosphate) in the presence of Mg2+ make the oligomer selectively sensitive to trypsin proteolysis in a fashion suggesting conformational changes in the monomers of one heptameric ring. The site of proteolysis in the monomer that is exposed upon nucleotide binding by the oligomer is in the apical domain (Arg-268). Further, complexes of GroEL with GroES or rhodanese display the same sensitivity to proteolysis, unlike the GroEL-GroES-rhodanese complex, which is protected from proteolysis. The influence of various cations on trypsin proteolysis is investigated to elucidate the differential effects that monovalent and divalent cations have on the oligomeric structure of the chaperonin. These results are discussed in relation to the molecular basis for the chaperonin activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)238-243
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 5 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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