Calmodulin activation of target enzymes. Consequences of deletions in the central helix.
The central helical region of calmodulin (CaM) includes amino acids 65-92 and serves to separate the two pairs of Ca2(+)-binding sites. This region may impart conformational flexibility and also interact with target proteins. The functional effects of deleting two, three, five, or eight amino acids from the central helix were monitored by examining the activation of phosphodiesterase, smooth muscle myosin light chain (MLC) kinase, and Ca2+/CaM-dependent protein kinase II (CaM kinase II). CaMDM(-8), a calmodulin-deletion mutant with 8 amino acids deleted from the middle of the central helix, failed to activate MLC kinase, phosphodiesterase, or CaM kinase II at physiologically significant concentrations of activator but also had altered electrophoretic mobility and tyrosine fluorescence properties suggesting major changes in the structure of this mutant. Deletion of five amino acids (77-81) resulted in an increase in apparent Kact for phosphodiesterase (150-fold), CaM kinase II (25-fold), and MLC kinase (5-fold) relative to CaM. The maximal autophosphorylation activity of CaM kinase II was also diminished 70% with CaMDM(-5). For phosphodiesterase activation, CaMDM(-2) has a 15-fold increase in apparent Kact while CaMDM(-3) had an apparent Kact value only 3-fold higher than native CaM. In contrast, the activation of MLC kinase by the two (79-80)- and three (79-81)-amino acid deletion mutants were indistinguishable from each other or native CaM. CaMDM(-2) and CaMDM(-3) stimulated CaM kinase II autophosphorylation to 85 and 70%, respectively, of native CaM with less than a 2-fold increase in Kact. Therefore, all deletions in the central helix of CaM reduce the efficiency of phosphodiesterase activation as reflected by substantial alterations in Kact. MLC kinase activation, however, is relatively insensitive to small two or three amino acid deletions. CaM kinase II interacts with the central helix deletion mutants in a complex manner with alterations in both the Kact and the maximum activity. The data suggest the central helix of CaM may serve as a flexible tether for MLC kinase (and to a lesser extent CaM kinase II) but that an extended conformation of CaM, as predicted from the crystal structure, may be required for phosphodiesterase activation.
VanBerkum, MF; George, SE; Means, AR
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