Direct observation of chaperone-modulated talin mechanics with single-molecule resolution
Talin as a critical focal adhesion mechanosensor exhibits force-dependent folding dynamics and concurrent interactions. Being a cytoplasmic protein, talin also might interact with several cytosolic chaperones; however, the roles of chaperones in talin mechanics remain elusive. To address this question, we investigated the force response of a mechanically stable talin domain with a set of well-known unfoldase (DnaJ, DnaK) and foldase (DnaKJE, DsbA) chaperones, using single-molecule magnetic tweezers. Our findings demonstrate that chaperones could affect adhesion proteins’ stability by changing their folding mechanics; while unfoldases reduce their unfolding force from ~11 pN to ~6 pN, foldase shifts it upto ~15 pN. Since talin is mechanically synced within 2 pN force ranges, these changes are significant in cellular conditions. Furthermore, we determined that chaperones directly reshape the energy landscape of talin: unfoldases decrease the unfolding barrier height from 26.8 to 21.7 kBT, while foldases increase it to 33.5 kBT. We reconciled our observations with eukaryotic Hsp70 and Hsp40 and observed their similar function of decreasing the talin unfolding barrier. Quantitative mapping of this chaperone-induced talin folding landscape directly illustrates that chaperones perturb the adhesion protein stability under physiological force, thereby, influencing their force-dependent interactions and adhesion dynamics.