Publication Date



Journal of Biological Chemistry


Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Huntington's diseases affect millions of Americans every year. One factor linked to the formation of aggregates associated with these diseases is damage sustained to proteins by oxidative stress. Management of protein misfolding by the ubiquitous Hsp70 chaperone family can be modulated by modification of two key cysteines in the ATPase domain by oxidizing or thiol-modifying compounds. To investigate the biological consequences of cysteine modification on the Hsp70 Ssa1 in budding yeast, we generated cysteine null (cysteine to serine) and oxidomimetic (cysteine to aspartic acid) mutant variants of both C264 and C303 and demonstrate reduced ATP binding, hydrolysis, and protein folding properties in both the oxidomimetic and hydrogen peroxide-treated Ssa1. In contrast, cysteine nullification rendered Ssa1 insensitive to oxidative inhibition. Additionally, we determined the oxidomimetic ssa1-2CD (C264D, C303D) allele was unable to function as the sole Ssa1 isoform in yeast cells and also exhibited dominant negative effects on cell growth and viability. Ssa1 binds to and represses Hsf1, the major transcription factor controlling the heat shock response, and we found the oxidomimetic Ssa1 failed to stably interact with Hsf1, resulting in constitutive activation of the heat shock response. Consistent with our in vitro findings, ssa1-2CD cells were compromised for de novo folding, post-stress protein refolding, and in regulated degradation of a model terminally misfolded protein. Together, these findings pinpoint Hsp70 as a key link between oxidative stress and proteostasis, information critical to understanding cytoprotective systems that prevent and manage cellular insults underlying complex disease states.


Hsp70, chaperone, redox, cysteine, thiol modification, reactive oxygen species, proteostasis



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