Prion-Associated Toxicity is Rescued by Elimination of Cotranslational Chaperones

Kathryn M. Keefer, Heather L. True

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The nascent polypeptide-associated complex (NAC) is a highly conserved but poorly characterized triad of proteins that bind near the ribosome exit tunnel. The NAC is the first cotranslational factor to bind to polypeptides and assist with their proper folding. Surprisingly, we found that deletion of NAC subunits in Saccharomyces cerevisiae rescues toxicity associated with the strong [PSI+] prion. This counterintuitive finding can be explained by changes in chaperone balance and distribution whereby the folding of the prion protein is improved and the prion is rendered nontoxic. In particular, the ribosome-associated Hsp70 Ssb is redistributed away from Sup35 prion aggregates to the nascent chains, leading to an array of aggregation phenotypes that can mimic both overexpression and deletion of Ssb. This toxicity rescue demonstrates that chaperone modification can block key steps of the prion life cycle and has exciting implications for potential treatment of many human protein conformational disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1006431
JournalPLoS genetics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2016

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