Cell Stress and Chaperones

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 41–53 | Cite as

Biochemical characterization of the interaction between HspA1A and phospholipids

  • Chelsea McCallister
  • Brianna Kdeiss
  • Nikolas NikolaidisEmail author
Original Paper


Seventy-kilodalton heat shock proteins (Hsp70s) are molecular chaperones essential for maintaining cellular homeostasis. Apart from their indispensable roles in protein homeostasis, specific Hsp70s localize at the plasma membrane and bind to specific lipids. The interaction of Hsp70s with lipids has direct physiological outcomes including lysosomal rescue, microautophagy, and promotion of cell apoptosis. Despite these essential functions, the Hsp70-lipid interactions remain largely uncharacterized. In this study, we characterized the interaction of HspA1A, an inducible Hsp70, with five phospholipids. We first used high concentrations of potassium and established that HspA1A embeds in membranes when bound to all anionic lipids tested. Furthermore, we found that protein insertion is enhanced by increasing the saturation level of the lipids. Next, we determined that the nucleotide-binding domain (NBD) of the protein binds to lipids quantitatively more than the substrate-binding domain (SBD). However, for all lipids tested, the full-length protein is necessary for embedding. We also used calcium and reaction buffers equilibrated at different pH values and determined that electrostatic interactions alone may not fully explain the association of HspA1A with lipids. We then determined that lipid binding is inhibited by nucleotide-binding, but it is unaffected by protein-substrate binding. These results suggest that the HspA1A lipid-association is specific, depends on the physicochemical properties of the lipid, and is mediated by multiple molecular forces. These mechanistic details of the Hsp70-lipid interactions establish a framework of possible physiological functions as they relate to chaperone regulation and localization.


Heat-shock proteins Lipid binding Liposomes Membranes Stress 



This work was supported by start-up funds from California State University, Fullerton, a California State Mini Grant, and a grant from CSU Program for Education and Research in Biotechnology to NN. CM was supported by a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Scholarship. BK was supported by the Research Careers Preparatory Program at CSUF. The authors thank Dr. Dimitra Chalkia and Kyle Hess for their valuable comments on the manuscript.

Supplementary material

12192_2015_636_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (323 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 323 kb)


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Copyright information

© Cell Stress Society International 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chelsea McCallister
    • 1
  • Brianna Kdeiss
    • 1
  • Nikolas Nikolaidis
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological Science, Center for Applied Biotechnology Studies, and Center for Computational and Applied MathematicsCalifornia State University, FullertonFullertonUSA

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