Mechanical properties of BiP protein determined by nano-rheology

Nathalie Casanova-Morales, Diego Quiroga-Roger, Hilda M. Alfaro-Valdés, Zahra Alavi, Miguel I.A. Lagos-Espinoza, Giovanni Zocchi, Christian A.M. Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Immunoglobulin Binding Protein (BiP) is a chaperone and molecular motor belonging to the Hsp70 family, involved in the regulation of important biological processes such as synthesis, folding and translocation of proteins in the Endoplasmic Reticulum. BiP has two highly conserved domains: the N-terminal Nucleotide-Binding Domain (NBD), and the C-terminal Substrate-Binding Domain (SBD), connected by a hydrophobic linker. ATP binds and it is hydrolyzed to ADP in the NBD, and BiP's extended polypeptide substrates bind in the SBD. Like many molecular motors, BiP function depends on both structural and catalytic properties that may contribute to its performance. One novel approach to study the mechanical properties of BiP considers exploring the changes in the viscoelastic behavior upon ligand binding, using a technique called nano-rheology. This technique is essentially a traditional rheology experiment, in which an oscillatory force is directly applied to the protein under study, and the resulting average deformation is measured. Our results show that the folded state of the protein behaves like a viscoelastic material, getting softer when it binds nucleotides- ATP, ADP, and AMP-PNP-, but stiffer when binding HTFPAVL peptide substrate. Also, we observed that peptide binding dramatically increases the affinity for ADP, decreasing it dissociation constant (K D ) around 1000 times, demonstrating allosteric coupling between SBD and NBD domains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1418-1426
Number of pages9
JournalProtein Science
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • BiP chaperone
  • allosteric communication
  • binding parameters
  • mechanical properties
  • nano-rheology
  • viscoelasticity


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