Heat Shock Protein 70 kDa (Hsp70) family molecular chaperones play critical roles in protein folding and trafficking in all eukaryotic cells. The mechanisms by which Hsp70 family chaperones are regulated, however, are only partly understood. BAG-1 binds the ATPase domains of Hsp70 and Hsc70, modulating their chaperone activity and functioning as a competitive antagonist of the co-chaperone Hip. We describe the identification of a family of BAG-1-related proteins from humans (BAG-2, BAG-3, BAG-4, BAG-5), the invertebrate Caenorhabditis elegans (BAG-1, BAG-2), and the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe (BAG-1A, BAG-1B). These proteins all contain a conserved approximately 45-amino acid region near their C termini (the BAG domain) that binds Hsc70/Hsp70, but they differ widely in their N-terminal domains. The human BAG-1, BAG-2, and BAG-3 proteins bind with high affinity (KD congruent with 1-10 nM) to the ATPase domain of Hsc70 and inhibit its chaperone activity in a Hip-repressible manner. The findings suggest opportunities for specification and diversification of Hsp70/Hsc70 chaperone functions through interactions with various BAG-family proteins.
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