Chaperones and protein folding in the archaea.

Andrew Large, Martin Goldberg, Peter Lund

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

37 Citations (Scopus)


A survey of archaeal genomes for the presence of homologues of bacterial and eukaryotic chaperones reveals several interesting features. All archaea contain chaperonins, also known as Hsp60s (where Hsp is heat-shock protein). These are more similar to the type II chaperonins found in the eukaryotic cytosol than to the type I chaperonins found in bacteria, mitochondria and chloroplasts, although some archaea also contain type I chaperonin homologues, presumably acquired by horizontal gene transfer. Most archaea contain several genes for these proteins. Our studies on the type II chaperonins of the genetically tractable archaeon Haloferax volcanii have shown that only one of the three genes has to be present for the organisms to grow, but that there is some evidence for functional specialization between the different chaperonin proteins. All archaea also possess genes for prefoldin proteins and for small heat-shock proteins, but they generally lack genes for Hsp90 and Hsp100 homologues. Genes for Hsp70 (DnaK) and Hsp40 (DnaJ) homologues are only found in a subset of archaea. Thus chaperone-assisted protein folding in archaea is likely to display some unique features when compared with that in eukaryotes and bacteria, and there may be important differences in the process between euryarchaea and crenarchaea.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-51
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical Society Transactions
Issue numberPt 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2009


  • chaperonin
  • thermosome
  • chaperone
  • heat-shock protein 60 (Hsp60)
  • chaperone containing t-complex polypeptide 1 (CCT)
  • archaeon


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