Hsp70 chaperones assist protein folding by cycling between the ATP-bound T state with low affinity for substrates and the ADP-bound R state with high affinity for substrates. The transition from the T to R state is catalyzed by the synergistic action of the substrate and DnaJ cochaperones. The reverse transition from the R state to the T state is accelerated by the nucleotide exchange factor GrpE. These two processes, T-to-R and R-to-T conversion, are affected differently by temperature change. Here we modeled Hsp70-mediated protein folding under permanent and transient heat shock based on published experimental data. Our simulation results were in agreement with in vitro wild-type Escherichia coli chaperone experimental data at 25°C and reflected R-to-T ratio dynamics in response to temperature effects. Our simulation results suggested that the chaperone system evolved naturally to maintain the concentration of active protein as high as possible during heat shock, even at the cost of recovered activity after return to optimal growth conditions. They also revealed that the chaperone system evolved to suppress ATP consumption at non-optimal high growing temperatures.
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