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U of I Researcher Jill Johnson Publishes Paper on Heat Shock Proteins in Nature Communications

April 15, 2019

Professor Jill Johnson, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Alberta and the University of Würzburg, recently published a paper in Nature Communications titled, "The Conserved NxNNWHW Motif in Aha1-Type Co-Chaperones Modulates the Kinetics of Hsp90 ATPase Stimulation and is Essential for In Vivo Function." This research seeks to understand how Hsp90 partners with interacting cochaperones to help 10-15 percent of cellular proteins fold properly.

As part of an IBEST pilot grant award to Johnson, she identified a version of Hsp90 that increases the requirement for specific cochaperones, allowing more detailed analysis of their function. Hsp90 binds and hydrolyzes ATP, but the link between this activity and function remains unclear. This work suggests that one type of cochaperone regulates a critical step that occurs after ATP hydrolysis. Future collaborative efforts will lead to a greater understanding of Hsp90 function, with the eventual goal of learning how changes in nucleotide release affect the ability of Hsp90 to interact with misfolded proteins.

Jill Johnson

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The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 12,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky Conference. Learn more at