Functional significance of the central helix in calmodulin.
The 3-A crystal structure of calmodulin indicates that it has a polarized tertiary arrangement in which calcium binding domains I and II are separated from domains III and IV by a long central helix consisting of residues 65-92. To investigate the functional significance of the central helix, mutated calmodulins were engineered with alterations in this region. Using oligonucleotide-primed site-directed mutagenesis, Thr-79 was converted to Pro-79 to generate CaMPM. CaMPM was further mutated by insertion of Pro-Ser-Thr-Asp between Asp-78 and Pro-79 to yield CaMIM. Calmodulin, CaMPM, and CaMIM were indistinguishable in their ability to activate calcineurin and Ca2+-ATPase. All mutated calmodulins would also maximally activate cGMP-phosphodiesterase and myosin light chain kinase, however, the concentrations of CaMPM and CaMIM necessary for half-maximal activation (Kact) were 2- and 9-fold greater, respectively, than CaM23. Conversion of the 2 Pro residues in CaMIM to amino acids that predict retention of helical secondary structure did not restore normal calmodulin activity. To investigate the nature of the interaction between mutated calmodulins and target enzymes, synthetic peptides modeled after the calmodulin binding region of smooth and skeletal muscle myosin light chain kinase were prepared and used as inhibitors of calmodulin-dependent cGMP-phosphodiesterase. The data suggest that the different kinetics of activation of myosin light chain kinase by CaM23 and CaMIM are not due to differences in the ability of the activators to bind to the calmodulin binding site of this enzyme. These observations are consistent with a model in which the length but not composition of the central helix is more important for the activation of certain enzymes. The data also support the hypothesis that calmodulin contains multiple sites for protein-protein interaction that are differentially recognized by its multiple target proteins.
Putkey, JA; Ono, T; VanBerkum, MF; Means, AR
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