A molecular dynamics study of the effect of Ca2+ removal on calmodulin structure

Elad Project, Ran Friedman, Esther Nachliel, Menachem Gutman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Calmodulin is a small (148 residues), ubiquitous, highly-conserved Ca 2+ binding protein serving as a modulator of many calcium-dependent processes. In this study, we followed, by means of molecular dynamics, the structural stability of the protein when one of its four bound Ca2+ ions is removed, and compared it to a simulation of the fully Ca2+ bound protein. We found that the removal of a single Ca2+ ion from the N-lobe of the protein, which has a lower affinity for the ion, is sufficient to initiate a considerable structural rearrangement. Although the overall structure of the fully 4 Ca2+ bound protein remained intact in the extended conformation, the Ca2+-removed protein changed its conformation into a compact state. The observation that the 3 Ca2+ loaded protein assumes a compacted solution state is in accord with experimental observation that the NSCP protein, which binds only three Ca2+ ions, is natively in a compact state. Examination of the folding dynamics reveals a cooperation between the C-lobe, N-lobe,andthe interdomain helix that enable the conformation change.Theforces driving this conformationalchangeare discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3842-3850
Number of pages9
JournalBiophysical Journal
Volume90
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2006

Funding

FundersFunder number
United States-Israel Binational Science Foundation2002129
Colton Foundation

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