María Paz Ramírez, Maira Rivera, Diego Quiroga-Roger, Andrés Bustamante, Marcela Vega, Mauricio Baez, Elias M. Puchner, Christian A.M. Wilson
BiP (Immunoglobulin Binding Protein) is a member of the Hsp70 chaperones that participates in protein folding in the endoplasmic reticulum. The function of BiP relies on cycles of ATP hydrolysis driving the binding and release of its substrate proteins. It still remains unknown how BiP affects the protein folding pathway and there has been no direct demonstration showing which folding state of the substrate protein is bound by BiP, as previous work has used only peptides. Here, we employ optical tweezers for single molecule force spectroscopy experiments to investigate how BiP affects the folding mechanism of a complete protein and how this effect depends on nucleotides. Using the protein MJ0366 as the substrate for BiP, we performed pulling and relaxing cycles at constant velocity to unfold and refold the substrate. In the absence of BiP, MJ0366 unfolded and refolded in every cycle. However, when BiP was added, the frequency of folding events of MJ0366 significantly decreased, and the loss of folding always occurred after a successful unfolding event. This process was dependent on ATP and ADP, since when either ATP was decreased or ADP was added, the duration of periods without folding events increased. Our results show that the affinity of BiP for the substrate protein increased in these conditions, which correlates with previous studies in bulk. Therefore, we conclude that BiP binds to the unfolded state of MJ0366 and prevents its refolding, and that this effect is dependent on both the type and concentration of nucleotides.