Unc45b forms a cytosolic complex with Hsp90 and targets the unfolded myosin motor domain

Rajani Srikakulam, Li Liu, Donald A. Winkelmann

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63 Scopus citations


Myosin folding and assembly in striated muscle is mediated by the general chaperones Hsc70 and Hsp90 and a myosin specific co-chaperone, UNC45. Two UNC45 genes are found in vertebrates, including a striated muscle specific form, Unc45b. We have investigated the role of Unc45b in myosin folding. Epitope tagged murine Unc45b (Unc45bFlag) was expressed in muscle and non-muscle cells and bacteria, isolated and characterized. The protein is a soluble monomer in solution with a compact folded rod-shaped structure of ∼19 nm length by electron microscopy. When over-expressed in striated muscle cells, Unc45bFlag fractionates as a cytosolic protein and isolates as a stable complex with Hsp90. Purified Unc45bFlag re-binds Hsp90 and forms a stable complex in solution. The endogenous Unc45b in muscle cell lysates is also found associated with Hsp90. The Unc45bFlag/Hsp90 complex binds the partially folded myosin motor domain when incubated with myosin subfragments synthesized in a reticulocyte lysate. This binding is independent of the myosin rod or light chains. Unc45bFlag does not bind native myosin subfragments consistent with a chaperone function. More importantly, Unc45bFlag enhances myosin motor domain folding during de novo motor domain synthesis indicating that it has a direct role in myosin maturation. Thus, mammalian Unc45b is a cytosolic protein that forms a stable complex with Hsp90, selectively binds the unfolded conformation of the myosin motor domain, and promotes motor domain folding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2137
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 14 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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