Heat-shock protein 40 (Hsp40) enables Hsp70 to play critical roles in a number of cellular processes, such as protein folding, assembly, degradation and translocation in vivo. Hsp40 recognizes and binds non-native polypeptides and delivers them to Hsp70. Then Hsp40 stimulates the ATPase activity of Hsp70 to fold the polypeptides. By using yeast Hsp40 Sis1 and yeast Hsp70 Ssa1 as our model proteins, we found that the Sis1 peptide-binding fragment interacts directly with the full-length Ssa1 in vitro. Further studies showed that the C-terminal lid domain of Ssa1 could interact with Sis1 peptide-binding domain physically in vitro. The Sis1 peptide-binding fragment forms a stable complex with the Ssa1 C-terminal lid domain in solution. The interactions between these two proteins appear to be charge-charge interactions because high-ionic-strength buffer can dissociate the complex. Further mapping studies showed that the Sis1 peptide-binding fragment binds the extreme C-terminal 15 amino acid residues of Ssa1. A flexible glycine-rich region is followed by these 15 residues in the Ssa1 primary sequence. Atomic force microscopy of the Sis1-Ssa1 complex showed that only one end of the Ssa1 lid domain binds the Sis1 peptide-binding-fragment dimer at the upper level of the huge groove within the Sis1 dimer. Based on the data, we propose an 'anchoring and docking' model to illustrate the mechanisms by which Hsp40 interacts with Hsp70 and delivers the non-native polypeptide to Hsp70.