Metal toxicity and opportunistic binding of Pb(2+) in proteins.
ABSTRACT: Lead toxicity is associated with various human diseases. While Ca(2+) binding proteins such as calmodulin (CaM) are often reported to be molecular targets for Pb(2+)-binding and lead toxicity, the effect of Pb(2+) on the Ca(2+)/CaM regulated biological activities cannot be described by the primary mechanism of ionic displacement (e.g., ionic mimicry). The focus of this study was to investigate the mechanism of lead toxicity through binding differences between Ca(2+) and Pb(2+) for CaM, an essential intracellular trigger protein with two EF-Hand Ca(2+)-binding sites in each of its two domains that regulates many molecular targets via Ca(2+)-induced conformational change. Fluorescence changes in phenylalanine indicated that Pb(2+) binds with 8-fold higher affinity than Ca(2+) in the N-terminal domain. Additionally, NMR chemical shift changes and an unusual biphasic response observed in tyrosine fluorescence associated with C-terminal domain sites EF-III and EF-IV suggest a single higher affinity Pb(2+)-binding site with a 3-fold higher affinity than Ca(2+), coupled with a second site exhibiting affinity nearly equivalent to that of the N-terminal domain sites. Our results further indicate that Pb(2+) displaces Ca(2+) only in the N-terminal domain, with minimal perturbation of the C-terminal domain, however significant structural/dynamic changes are observed in the trans-domain linker region which appear to be due to Pb(2+)-binding outside of the known calcium-binding sites. These data suggest that opportunistic Pb(2+)-binding in Ca(2+)/CaM has a profound impact on the conformation and dynamics of the essential molecular recognition sites of the central helix, and provides insight into the molecular toxicity of non-essential metal ions.
Project description:Pb(2+) is known to displace physiologically-relevant metal ions in proteins. To investigate potential relationships between Pb(2+)/protein complexes and toxicity, data from the protein data bank were analyzed to compare structural properties of Pb(2+)- and Ca(2+)-binding sites. Results of this analysis reveal that the majority of Pb(2+) sites (77.1%) involve 2-5 binding ligands, compared with 6+/-2 for non-EF-Hand and 7+/-1 for EF-Hand Ca(2+)-binding sites. The mean net negative charge by site (1.7) fell between values noted for non-EF-Hand (1+/-1) and EF-Hand (3+/-1). Oxygen is the dominant ligand for both Pb(2+) and Ca(2+), but Pb(2+) binds predominantly with sidechain Glu (38.4%), which is less prevalent in both non-EF-Hand (10.4%) and EF-Hand (26.6%) Ca(2+)-binding sites. A comparison of binding geometries where Pb(2+) has replaced Ca(2+) in calmodulin (CaM) and Zn(2+) in 5-aminolaevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) revealed protein structural changes that appear to be unrelated to ionic displacement. Structural changes observed with CaM may be related to opportunistic binding of Pb(2+) in regions of high electrostatic charge, whereas ALAD may bind multiple Pb(2+) ions in the active site. These results suggest that Pb(2+) adapts to structurally-diverse binding geometries and that opportunistic binding may play an active role in molecular metal toxicity.
Project description:Edema factor (EF) and CyaA are calmodulin (CaM)-activated adenylyl cyclase exotoxins involved in the pathogenesis of anthrax and whooping cough, respectively. Using spectroscopic, enzyme kinetic and surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy analyses, we show that low Ca(2+) concentrations increase the affinity of CaM for EF and CyaA causing their activation, but higher Ca(2+) concentrations directly inhibit catalysis. Both events occur in a physiologically relevant range of Ca(2+) concentrations. Despite the similarity in Ca(2+) sensitivity, EF and CyaA have substantial differences in CaM binding and activation. CyaA has 100-fold higher affinity for CaM than EF. CaM has N- and C-terminal globular domains, each binding two Ca(2+) ions. CyaA can be fully activated by CaM mutants with one defective C-terminal Ca(2+)-binding site or by either terminal domain of CaM while EF cannot. EF consists of a catalytic core and a helical domain, and both are required for CaM activation of EF. Mutations that decrease the interaction of the helical domain with the catalytic core create an enzyme with higher sensitivity to Ca(2+)-CaM activation. However, CyaA is fully activated by CaM without the domain corresponding to the helical domain of EF.
Project description:Calmodulin (CaM) is an essential eukaryotic calcium receptor that regulates many kinases, including CaMKII. Calcium-depleted CaM does not bind to CaMKII under physiological conditions. However, binding of (Ca(2+))(4)-CaM to a basic amphipathic helix in CaMKII releases auto-inhibition of the kinase. The crystal structure of CaM bound to CaMKIIp, a peptide representing the CaM-binding domain (CaMBD) of CaMKII, shows an antiparallel interface: the C-domain of CaM primarily contacts the N-terminal half of the CaMBD. The two domains of calcium-saturated CaM are believed to play distinct roles in releasing auto-inhibition. To investigate the underlying mechanism of activation, calcium-dependent titrations of isolated domains of CaM binding to CaMKIIp were monitored using fluorescence anisotropy. The binding affinity of CaMKIIp for the domains of CaM increased upon saturation with calcium, with the C-domain having a 35-fold greater affinity than the N-domain. Because the interdomain linker of CaM regulates calcium-binding affinity and contribute to conformational change, the role of each CaM domain was explored further by investigating effects of CaMKIIp on site-knockout mutants affecting the calcium-binding sites of a single domain. Investigation of the thermodynamic linkage between saturation of individual calcium-binding sites and CaM-domain binding to CaMKIIp showed that calcium binding to Sites III and IV was sufficient to recapitulate the behavior of (Ca(2+))(4)-CaM. The magnitude of favorable interdomain cooperativity varied depending on which of the four calcium-binding sites were mutated, emphasizing differential regulatory roles for the domains of CaM, despite the high degree of homology among the four EF-hands of CaM.
Project description:Calmodulin (CaM) is a remarkably flexible protein which can bind multiple targets in response to changes in intracellular calcium concentration. It contains four calcium-binding sites, arranged in two globular domains. The calcium affinity of CaM N-terminal domain (N-CaM) is dramatically reduced when the complex with the edema factor (EF) of Bacillus anthracis is formed. Here, an atomic explanation for this reduced affinity is proposed through molecular dynamics simulations and free energy perturbation calculations of the EF-CaM complex starting from different crystallographic models. The simulations show that electrostatic interactions between CaM and EF disfavor the opening of N-CaM domains usually induced by calcium binding. Relative calcium affinities of the N-CaM binding sites are probed by free energy perturbation, and dissociation probabilities are evaluated with locally enhanced sampling simulations. We show that EF impairs calcium binding on N-CaM through a direct conformational restraint on Site 1, by an indirect destabilization of Site 2, and by reducing the cooperativity between the two sites.
Project description:Calcium-binding protein 7 (CaBP7) is a member of the calmodulin (CaM) superfamily that harbors two high affinity EF-hand motifs and a C-terminal transmembrane domain. CaBP7 has been previously shown to interact with and modulate phosphatidylinositol 4-kinase III-? (PI4KIII?) activity in in vitro assays and affects vesicle transport in neurons when overexpressed. Here we show that the N-terminal domain (NTD) of CaBP7 is sufficient to mediate the interaction of CaBP7 with PI4KIII?. CaBP7 NTD encompasses the two high affinity Ca(2+) binding sites, and structural characterization through multiangle light scattering, circular dichroism, and NMR reveals unique properties for this domain. CaBP7 NTD binds specifically to Ca(2+) but not Mg(2+) and undergoes significant conformational changes in both secondary and tertiary structure upon Ca(2+) binding. The Ca(2+)-bound form of CaBP7 NTD is monomeric and exhibits an open conformation similar to that of CaM. Ca(2+)-bound CaBP7 NTD has a solvent-exposed hydrophobic surface that is more expansive than observed in CaM or CaBP1. Within this hydrophobic pocket, there is a significant reduction in the number of methionine residues that are conserved in CaM and CaBP1 and shown to be important for target recognition. In CaBP7 NTD, these residues are replaced with isoleucine and leucine residues with branched side chains that are intrinsically more rigid than the flexible methionine side chain. We propose that these differences in surface hydrophobicity, charge, and methionine content may be important in determining highly specific interactions of CaBP7 with target proteins, such as PI4KIII?.
Project description:Calmodulin (CaM) is an EF-hand protein composed of two calcium (Ca(2+))-binding EF-hand motifs in its N-domain (EF-1 and EF-2) and two in its C-domain (EF-3 and EF-4). In this study, we examined the structure, dynamics, and Ca(2+)-binding properties of a fragment of CaM containing only EF-2 and EF-3 and the intervening linker sequence (CaM2/3). Based on NMR spectroscopic analyses, Ca(2+)-free CaM2/3 is predominantly unfolded, but upon binding Ca(2+), adopts a monomeric structure composed of two EF-hand motifs bridged by a short antiparallel beta-sheet. Despite having an "even-odd" pairing of EF-hands, the tertiary structure of CaM2/3 is similar to both the "odd-even" paired N- and C-domains of Ca(2+)-ligated CaM, with the conformationally flexible linker sequence adopting the role of an inter-EF-hand loop. However, unlike either CaM domain, CaM2/3 exhibits stepwise Ca(2+) binding with a K (d1) = 30 +/- 5 microM to EF-3, and a K (d2) > 1000 microM to EF-2. Binding of the first equivalent of Ca(2+) induces the cooperative folding of CaM2/3. In the case of native CaM, stacking interactions between four conserved aromatic residues help to hold the first and fourth helices of each EF-hand domain together, while the loop between EF-hands covalently tethers the second and third helices. In contrast, these aromatic residues lie along the second and third helices of CaM2/3, and thus are positioned adjacent to the loop between its "even-odd" paired EF-hands. This nonnative hydrophobic core packing may contribute to the weak Ca(2+) affinity exhibited by EF-2 in the context of CaM2/3.
Project description:Polycystin-2 (PC2) belongs to the transient receptor potential (TRP) family and forms a Ca(2+)-regulated channel. The C-terminal cytoplasmic tail of human PC2 (HPC2 Cterm) is important for PC2 channel assembly and regulation. In this study, we characterized the oligomeric states and Ca(2+)-binding profiles in the C-terminal tail using biophysical approaches. Specifically, we determined that HPC2 Cterm forms a trimer in solution with and without Ca(2+) bound, although TRP channels are believed to be tetramers. We found that there is only one Ca(2+)-binding site in the HPC2 Cterm, located within its EF-hand domain. However, the Ca(2+) binding affinity of the HPC2 Cterm trimer is greatly enhanced relative to the intrinsic binding affinity of the isolated EF-hand domain. We also employed the sea urchin PC2 (SUPC2) as a model for biophysical and structural characterization. The sea urchin C-terminal construct (SUPC2 Ccore) also forms trimers in solution, independent of Ca(2+) binding. In contrast to the human PC2, the SUPC2 Ccore contains two cooperative Ca(2+)-binding sites within its EF-hand domain. Consequently, trimerization does not further improve the affinity of Ca(2+) binding in the SUPC2 Ccore relative to the isolated EF-hand domain. Using NMR, we localized the Ca(2+)-binding sites in the SUPC2 Ccore and characterized the conformational changes in its EF-hand domain due to trimer formation. Our study provides a structural basis for understanding the Ca(2+)-dependent regulation of the PC2 channel by its cytosolic C-terminal domain. The improved methodology also serves as a good strategy to characterize other Ca(2+)-binding proteins.
Project description:Metal ions play crucial roles in numerous biological processes, facilitating biochemical reactions by binding to various proteins. An increasing body of evidence suggests that neurotoxicity associated with exposure to nonessential metals (e.g., Pb(2+)) involves disruption of synaptic activity, and these observed effects are associated with the ability of Pb(2+) to interfere with Zn(2+) and Ca(2+)-dependent functions. However, the molecular mechanism behind Pb(2+) toxicity remains a topic of debate. In this review, we first discuss potential neuronal Ca(2+) binding protein (CaBP) targets for Pb(2+) such as calmodulin (CaM), synaptotagmin, neuronal calcium sensor-1 (NCS-1), N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor (NMDAR) and family C of G-protein coupled receptors (cGPCRs), and their involvement in Ca(2+)-signalling pathways. We then compare metal binding properties between Ca(2+) and Pb(2+) to understand the structural implications of Pb(2+) binding to CaBPs. Statistical and biophysical studies (e.g., NMR and fluorescence spectroscopy) of Pb(2+) binding are discussed to investigate the molecular mechanism behind Pb(2+) toxicity. These studies identify an opportunistic, allosteric binding of Pb(2+) to CaM, which is distinct from ionic displacement. Together, these data suggest three potential modes of Pb(2+) activity related to molecular and/or neural toxicity: (i) Pb(2+) can occupy Ca(2+)-binding sites, inhibiting the activity of the protein by structural modulation, (ii) Pb(2+) can mimic Ca(2+) in the binding sites, falsely activating the protein and perturbing downstream activities, or (iii) Pb(2+) can bind outside of the Ca(2+)-binding sites, resulting in the allosteric modulation of the protein activity. Moreover, the data further suggest that even low concentrations of Pb(2+) can interfere at multiple points within the neuronal Ca(2+) signalling pathways to cause neurotoxicity.
Project description:Edema factor (EF), a key anthrax exotoxin, has an anthrax protective antigen-binding domain (PABD) and a calmodulin (CaM)-activated adenylyl cyclase domain. Here, we report the crystal structures of CaM-bound EF, revealing the architecture of EF PABD. CaM has N- and C-terminal domains and each domain can bind two calcium ions. Calcium binding induces the conformational change of CaM from closed to open. Structures of the EF-CaM complex show how EF locks the N-terminal domain of CaM into a closed conformation regardless of its calcium-loading state. This represents a mechanism of how CaM effector alters the calcium affinity of CaM and uncouples the conformational change of CaM from calcium loading. Furthermore, structures of EF-CaM complexed with nucleotides show that EF uses two-metal-ion catalysis, a prevalent mechanism in DNA and RNA polymerases. A histidine (H351) further facilitates the catalysis of EF by activating a water to deprotonate 3'OH of ATP. Mammalian adenylyl cyclases share no structural similarity with EF and they also use two-metal-ion catalysis, suggesting the catalytic mechanism-driven convergent evolution of two structurally diverse adenylyl cyclases.
Project description:The function of the human cardiac voltage-gated sodium channel Na(V)1.5 (hH1) is regulated in part by binding of calcium to an EF hand in the C-terminal cytoplasmic domain. hH1 is also regulated via an extrinsic calcium-sensing pathway mediated by calmodulin (CaM) via binding to an IQ motif immediately adjacent to the EF-hand domain. The intrinsic EF-hand domain is shown here to interact with the IQ motif, which controls calcium affinity. Remarkably, mutation of the IQ residues has only a minor effect on CaM affinity but drastically reduces calcium affinity of the EF-hand domain, whereas the Brugada mutation A1924T significantly reduces CaM affinity but has no effect on calcium affinity of the EF-hand domain. Moreover, the differences in the biochemical effects of the mutations directly correlate with contrasting effects on channel electrophysiology. A comprehensive model is proposed in which the hH1 IQ motif serves as a molecular switch, coupling the intrinsic and extrinsic calcium sensors.