Murine stress-inducible protein 1 (mSTI1) is a co-chaperone homologous with the human heat shock cognate protein 70 (hsc70)/heat shock protein 90 (hsp90)-organizing protein (Hop). The concomitant interaction of mSTI1 with hsp70 and hsp90 at its N- and C-termini respectively is mediated by the tetratricopeptide repeat (TPR) motifs in these regions. With the use of co-precipitation assays, we show here that the N-terminal TPR domain of mSTI1 without extensive flanking regions is both necessary and sufficient to mediate a specific interaction with hsc70. In contrast, other TPR-containing co-chaperones require TPR flanking regions for target substrate recognition, suggesting different mechanisms of TPR-mediated chaperone-co-chaperone interactions. Furthermore, the interaction between mSTI1 and hsc70 was analysed to ascertain the effect of replacing or deleting conserved amino acid residues and sequences within the three TPR motifs constituting the N-terminal TPR domain of full-length mSTI1. Replacement of a bulky hydrophobic residue in TPR1 disrupted the interaction of mSTI1 with hsc70. A highly conserved sequence in TPR2 was altered by deletion or single amino acid replacement. These derivatives retained a specific interaction with hsc70. These results are consistent with a model in which conserved residues within the N-terminal TPR region of mSTI1 contribute differentially to the interaction with hsc70, and in which TPR1 has a significant role in targeting mSTI1 to hsc70. The contribution of the TPR domain mutations and deletions are discussed with respect to their effect on target substrate interactions.

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