In ClpXP and ClpAP complexes, ClpA and ClpX use the energy of ATP hydrolysis to unfold proteins and translocate them into the self- compartmentalized ClpP protease. ClpP requires the ATPases to degrade folded or unfolded substrates, but binding of acyldepsipeptide antibiotics (ADEPs) to ClpP bypasses this requirement with unfolded proteins. We present the crystal structure of Escherichia coli ClpP bound to ADEP1 and report the structural changes underlying ClpP activation. ADEP1 binds in the hydrophobic groove that serves as the primary docking site for ClpP ATPases. Binding of ADEP1 locks the N-terminal loops of ClpP in a β-hairpin conformation, generating a stable pore through which extended polypeptides can be threaded. This structure serves as a model for ClpP in the holoenzyme ClpAP and ClpXP complexes and provides critical information to further develop this class of antibiotics.