E. coli Hsp100 ClpB can disaggregate denatured polypeptides by employing ATP hydrolysis. The ClpB N-terminal domain (ClpBN) has been proposed to play important roles in ClpB molecular chaperone activities. We have determined the crystal structure of ClpBN to 1.95 Å resolution by MAD methods. The ClpBN monomer contains two subdomains that have similar folds. The crystal structure revealed a hydrophobic groove on the molecular surface. We have constructed ClpB mutants in which the hydrophobic residues within the putative peptide binding groove were replaced by glutamine. These ClpB mutants exhibited severe defects in molecular chaperone activity but retained the wild-type ATPase activity.