The 70-kilodalton (kDa) heat-shock proteins (Hsp70s) are ubiquitous molecular chaperones essential for cellular protein folding and proteostasis. Each Hsp70 has two functional domains: a nucleotide-binding domain (NBD), which binds and hydrolyzes ATP, and a substrate-binding domain (SBD), which binds extended polypeptides. NBD and SBD interact little when in the presence of ADP; however, ATP binding allosterically couples the polypeptide- and ATP-binding sites. ATP binding promotes polypeptide release; polypeptide rebinding stimulates ATP hydrolysis. This allosteric coupling is poorly understood. Here we present the crystal structure of an intact ATP-bound Hsp70 from Escherichia coli at 1.96-Å resolution. The ATP-bound NBD adopts a unique conformation, forming extensive interfaces with an SBD that has changed radically, having its α-helical lid displaced and the polypeptide-binding channel of its β-subdomain restructured. These conformational changes, together with our biochemical assays, provide a structural explanation for allosteric coupling in Hsp70 activity.