Escherichia coli DnaK (Hsp70) cooperates with DnaJ and GrpE in its essential role as a molecular chaperone. Function of mitochondrial Hsp70 (mHsp70) in protein folding and organellar import in eukaryotes is critically dependent on GrpE. We cloned two genes from tobacco (Nicotiana tabacum) BY2 cells based on peptide sequences from a purified protein. The predicted amino acid sequences of both clones resembled that of GrpE from E. coli and its homologues from eukaryotes, and a cDNA clone from Arabidopsis thaliana. One gene (Type 1) encoded a deduced protein that was identical to the purified protein while the other (Type 2) encoded a deduced protein that has 80% sequence identity to Type 1. Both tobacco and Arabidopsis thaliana GrpE homologues bound to DnaK and ATP inhibited this binding. The tobacco GrpE homologue contained a typical N-terminal mitochondrial target presequence of 64 residues and the presequence directed the green fluorescent protein to tobacco mitochondria. The tobacco GrpE homologue also associated with mHsp70 when reintroduced into BY2 protoplasts, and this association was disrupted by ATP. A three-dimensional structure for the tobacco GrpE homologue was modeled based on the X-ray structure of E. coli GrpE complexed with DnaK. The modeled structure has the same overall structure as E. coli GrpE. We propose that the tobacco GrpE homologue interacts with mHsp70 in a manner analogous to E. coli GrpE with DnaK and designate it as tobacco mitochondrial GrpE (NtmGrpE).