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Hormone receptors require participation of the chaperones Hsp40/Hsp70 to form client-transfer complexes with Hsp90/Hop. Interaction with the co-chaperone p23 releases Hop and Hsp70, and the immunophilin FKBP52 mediates transfer of the Hsp90-receptor complex to the nucleus. Inhibition of glucocorticoid receptor (GR) transport by FKBP51, but not by FKBP52, has been observed at the cellular level, but the subunit composition of the intermediates involved has not been deduced. Here we use mass spectrometry to show that FKBP51/52 form analogous complexes with GR/Hsp90/Hop/Hsp70/ATP, but differences emerge upon addition of p23 to client-transfer complexes. When FKBP51 is present, a stable intermediate is formed (FKBP51)1(GR)1(Hsp90)2(p23)2 by expulsion of Hsp70 and Hop. By contrast, in the presence of FKBP52, ejection of p23 also takes place to form the nuclear transfer complex (FKBP52)1(GR)1(Hsp90)2. Our results are therefore consistent with pathways in which FKBP51/52 are interchangeable during the early assembly reactions. Following interaction with p23, however, the pathways diverge with FKBP51 sequestering GR in a stable intermediate complex with p23. By contrast, binding of FKBP52 occurs almost concomitantly with release of p23 to form a highly dynamic transfer complex, primed for interaction with the dynactin transport machinery.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Discov

Publication Date





Glucocorticoid receptor, Hsp90, Immunophilins, Mass spectrometry