Cloning and Some Novel Characteristics of Mitochondrial Hsp70 from Chinese Hamster Cells
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The cDNA for Chinese hamster mitochondrial Hsp70 (mHsp70) was cloned and sequenced using a polymerase chain reaction probe based on conserved regions in the Hsp70 family of proteins. The encoded protein consists of 679 amino acids which includes a N-terminal mitochondrial targeting sequence of 46 amino acids. The mHsp70 protein contains several sequence signatures that are characteristics of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organellar Hsp70 homologs. In a phylogenetic tree based on Hsp70 sequences, it branches with the gram-negative proteobacteria, supporting the endosymbiotic origin of mitochondria from this group of prokaryotes. The mHsp70 cDNA was transcribed and translated in vitro and its import into isolated rat heart mitochondria was examined. The precursor mHsp70 was converted into a mature form of lower molecular mass (approximately 71 kDa) which became resistant to trypsin digestion. The import of mHsp70 into mitochondria was not observed in the presence of an uncoupler of energy metabolism or when the N-terminal presequence was lacking. The cDNA for mHsp70 was expressed in Escherichia coli and a polyclonal antibody to the purified recombinant protein was raised. The antibody shows no cross-reactivity to recombinant cytosolic Hsp70 protein and in 2-D gel blots it reacted specifically with the mHsp70 protein only. In immunofluorescence experiments, the antibody predominantly labeled mitochondria, and the observed labeling pattern was identical to that seen with a monoclonal antibody to the mitochondrial Hsp60 chaperonin. The affinity-purified antibody to mHsp70 was also employed to examine the subcellular distribution of the protein by cryoelectron microscopy and the immunogold-labeling technique. In these experiments, in addition to mitochondria, labeling with mitochondrial Hsp70 antibody was also observed on the plasma membrane and in unidentified cytoplasmic vesicles and granules. These studies raise the possibility that similar to the Hsp60 chaperonin and a number of other mitochondrial proteins, mHsp70 may have an extramitochondrial role.
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