Gowda, N.K.C., Kandasamy, G, Froelih, M.S., Dohmen, R.J., & Andréasson, C. (2013). Hsp70 nucleotide exchange factor Fes1 is essential for ubiquitin-dependent degradation of misfolded cytosolic proteins. PNAS. 110(15):5975-80


Protein quality control systems protect cells against the accumulation of toxic misfolded proteins by promoting their selective degradation. Malfunctions of quality control systems are linked to aging and neurodegenerative disease. Folding of polypeptides is facilitated by the association of 70 kDa Heat shock protein (Hsp70) molecular chaperones. If folding cannot be achieved, Hsp70 interacts with ubiquitylation enzymes that promote the proteasomal degradation of the misfolded protein. However, the factors that direct Hsp70 substrates toward the degradation machinery have remained unknown. Here, we identify Fes1, an Hsp70 nucleotide exchange factor of hitherto unclear physiological function, as a cytosolic triaging factor that promotes proteasomal degradation of misfolded proteins. Fes1 selectively interacts with misfolded proteins bound by Hsp70 and triggers their release from the chaperone. In the absence of Fes1, misfolded proteins fail to undergo polyubiquitylation, aggregate, and induce a strong heat shock response. Our findings reveal that Hsp70 direct proteins toward either folding or degradation by using distinct nucleotide exchange factors.