Cdc37-Hsp90 complexes are responsive to nucleotide-induced conformational changes and binding of further cofactors.
ABSTRACT Hsp90 is an ATP-dependent molecular chaperone, which facilitates the activation and stabilization of hundreds of client proteins in cooperation with a defined set of cofactors. Many client proteins are protein kinases, which are activated and stabilized by Hsp90 in cooperation with the kinase-specific co-chaperone Cdc37. Other Hsp90 co-chaperones, like the ATPase activator Aha1, also are implicated in kinase activation, and it is not yet clear how Cdc37 is integrated into Hsp90 co-chaperone complexes. Here, we studied the interaction between Cdc37, Hsp90, and other Hsp90 co-chaperones from the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Nematode Cdc37 binds with high affinity to Hsp90 and strongly inhibits the ATPase activity. In contrast to the human Hsp90 system, we observed binding of Cdc37 to open and closed Hsp90 conformations, potentially reflecting two different binding modes. Using a novel ultracentrifugation setup, which allows accurate analysis of multifactorial protein complexes, we show that cooperative and competitive interactions exist between other co-chaperones and Cdc37-Hsp90 complexes in the C. elegans system. We observed strong competitive interactions between Cdc37 and the co-chaperones p23 and Sti1, whereas the binding of the phosphatase Pph5 and the ATPase activator Aha1 to Cdc37-Hsp90 complexes is possible. The ternary Aha1-Cdc37-Hsp90 complex is disrupted by the nucleotide-induced closing reaction at the N terminus of Hsp90. This implies a carefully regulated exchange process of cofactors during the chaperoning of kinase clients by Hsp90.