Conformational heterogeneity of the calmodulin binding interface.
ABSTRACT: Calmodulin (CaM) is a ubiquitous Ca(2+) sensor and a crucial signalling hub in many pathways aberrantly activated in disease. However, the mechanistic basis of its ability to bind diverse signalling molecules including G-protein-coupled receptors, ion channels and kinases remains poorly understood. Here we harness the high resolution of molecular dynamics simulations and the analytical power of Markov state models to dissect the molecular underpinnings of CaM binding diversity. Our computational model indicates that in the absence of Ca(2+), sub-states in the folded ensemble of CaM's C-terminal domain present chemically and sterically distinct topologies that may facilitate conformational selection. Furthermore, we find that local unfolding is off-pathway for the exchange process relevant for peptide binding, in contrast to prior hypotheses that unfolding might account for binding diversity. Finally, our model predicts a novel binding interface that is well-populated in the Ca(2+)-bound regime and, thus, a candidate for pharmacological intervention.
Project description:Calmodulin (CaM) is a Ca(2+)-sensing protein that is highly conserved and ubiquitous in eukaryotes. In humans it is a locus of life-threatening cardiomyopathies. The primary function of CaM is to transduce Ca(2+) concentration into cellular signals by binding to a wide range of target proteins in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner. We do not fully understand how CaM performs its role as a high-fidelity signal transducer for more than 300 target proteins, but diversity among its four Ca(2+)-binding sites, called EF-hands, may contribute to CaM's functional versatility. We therefore looked at the conservation of CaM sequences over deep evolutionary time, focusing primarily on the four EF-hand motifs. Expanding on previous work, we found that CaM evolves slowly but that its evolutionary rate is substantially faster in fungi. We also found that the four EF-hands have distinguishing biophysical and structural properties that span eukaryotes. These results suggest that all eukaryotes require CaM to decode Ca(2+) signals using four specialized EF-hands, each with specific, conserved traits. In addition, we provide an extensive map of sites associated with target proteins and with human disease and correlate these with evolutionary sequence diversity. Our comprehensive evolutionary analysis provides a basis for understanding the sequence space associated with CaM function and should help guide future work on the relationship between structure, function, and disease.
Project description:Lactoferrin (Lf) is an 80 kDa, iron (Fe(3+))-binding immunoregulatory glycoprotein secreted into most exocrine fluids, found in high concentrations in colostrum and milk, and released from neutrophil secondary granules at sites of infection and inflammation. In a number of cell types, Lf is internalized through receptor-mediated endocytosis and targeted to the nucleus where it has been demonstrated to act as a transcriptional trans-activator. Here we characterize human Lf's interaction with calmodulin (CaM), a ubiquitous, 17 kDa regulatory calcium (Ca(2+))-binding protein localized in the cytoplasm and nucleus of activated cells. Due to the size of this intermolecular complex (?100 kDa), TROSY-based NMR techniques were employed to structurally characterize Ca(2+)-CaM when bound to intact apo-Lf. Both CaM's backbone amides and the ?-methyl group of key methionine residues were used as probes in chemical shift perturbation and cross-saturation experiments to define the binding interface of apo-Lf on Ca(2+)-CaM. Unlike the collapsed conformation through which Ca(2+)-CaM binds the CaM-binding domains of its classical targets, Ca(2+)-CaM assumes an extended structure when bound to apo-Lf. Apo-Lf appears to interact predominantly with the C-terminal lobe of Ca(2+)-CaM, enabling the N-terminal lobe to potentially bind another target. Our use of intact apo-Lf has made possible the identification of a secondary interaction interface, removed from CaM's primary binding domain. Secondary interfaces play a key role in the target's response to CaM binding, highlighting the importance of studying intact complexes. This solution-based approach can be applied to study other regulatory calcium-binding EF-hand proteins in intact intermolecular complexes.
Project description:Calmodulin (CaM) functions as a regulatory subunit of ryanodine receptor (RyR) channels, modulating channel activity in response to changing [Ca(2+)](i). To investigate the structural basis of CaM regulation of the RyR1 isoform, we used site-directed labeling of channel regulatory subunits and fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET). Donor fluorophore was targeted to the RyR1 cytoplasmic assembly by preincubating sarcoplasmic reticulum membranes with a fluorescent FK506-binding protein (FKBP), and FRET was determined following incubations in the presence of fluorescent CaMs in which acceptor fluorophore was attached within the N lobe, central linker, or C lobe. Results demonstrated strong FRET to acceptors attached within CaM's N lobe, whereas substantially weaker FRET was observed when acceptor was attached within CaM's central linker or C lobe. Surprisingly, Ca(2+) evoked little change in FRET to any of the 3 CaM domains. Donor-acceptor distances derived from our FRET measurements provide insights into CaM's location and orientation within the RyR1 3D architecture and the conformational switching that underlies CaM regulation of the channel. These results establish a powerful new approach to resolving the structure and function of RyR channels.
Project description:We have used NMR and circular dichroism spectroscopy to investigate the structural and dynamic effects of oxidation on calmodulin (CaM), using peroxide and the Met to Gln oximimetic mutations. CaM is a Ca<sup>2+</sup>-sensitive regulatory protein that interacts with numerous targets. Due to its high methionine content, CaM is highly susceptible to oxidation by reactive oxygen species under conditions of cell stress and age-related muscle degeneration. CaM oxidation alters regulation of a host of CaM's protein targets, emphasizing the importance of understanding the mechanism of CaM oxidation in muscle degeneration and overall physiology. It has been shown that the M125Q CaM mutant can mimic the functional effects of methionine oxidation on CaM's regulation of the calcium release channel, ryanodine receptor (RyR). We report here that the M125Q mutation causes a localized unfolding of the C-terminal lobe of CaM, preventing the formation of a hydrophobic cluster of residues near the EF-hand Ca<sup>2+</sup> binding sites. NMR analysis of CaM oxidation by peroxide offers further insights into the susceptibility of CaM's Met residues to oxidation and the resulting structural effects. These results further resolve oxidation-driven structural perturbation of CaM, with implications for RyR regulation and the decay of muscle function in aging.
Project description:In vitro biochemical reactions are most often studied in dilute solution, a poor mimic of the intracellular space of eukaryotic cells, which are crowded with mobile and immobile macromolecules. Such crowded conditions exert volume exclusion and other entropic forces that have the potential to impact chemical equilibria and reaction rates. In this article, we used the well-characterized and ubiquitous molecule calmodulin (CaM) and a combination of theoretical and experimental approaches to address how crowding impacts CaM's conformational plasticity. CaM is a dumbbell-shaped molecule that contains four EF hands (two in the N-lobe and two in the C-lobe) that each could bind Ca(2+), leading to stabilization of certain substates that favor interactions with other target proteins. Using coarse-grained molecular simulations, we explored the distribution of CaM conformations in the presence of crowding agents. These predictions, in which crowding effects enhance the population of compact structures, were then confirmed in experimental measurements using fluorescence resonance energy transfer techniques of donor- and acceptor-labeled CaM under normal and crowded conditions. Using protein reconstruction methods, we further explored the folding-energy landscape and examined the structural characteristics of CaM at free-energy basins. We discovered that crowding stabilizes several different compact conformations, which reflects the inherent plasticity in CaM's structure. From these results, we suggest that the EF hands in the C-lobe are flexible and can be thought of as a switch, while those in the N-lobe are stiff, analogous to a rheostat. New combinatorial signaling properties may arise from the product of the differential plasticity of the two distinct lobes of CaM in the presence of crowding. We discuss the implications of these results for modulating CaM's ability to bind Ca(2+) and target proteins.
Project description:The force-induced unfolding of calmodulin (CaM) was investigated at atomistic details with steered molecular dynamics. The two isolated CaM domains as well as the full-length CaM were simulated in N-C-terminal pulling scheme, and the isolated N-lobe of CaM was studied specially in two other pulling schemes to test the effect of pulling direction and compare with relevant experiments. Both Ca(2+)-loaded CaM and Ca(2+)-free CaM were considered in order to define the Ca(2+) influence to the CaM unfolding. The results reveal that the Ca(2+) significantly affects the stability and unfolding behaviors of both the isolated CaM domains and the full-length CaM. In Ca(2+)-loaded CaM, N-terminal domain unfolds in priori to the C-terminal domain. But in Ca(2+)-free CaM, the unfolding order changes, and C-terminal domain unfolds first. The force-extension curves of CaM unfolding indicate that the major unfolding barrier comes from conquering the interaction of two EF-hand motifs in both N- and C- terminal domains. Our results provide the atomistic-level insights in the force-induced CaM unfolding and explain the observation in recent AFM experiments.
Project description:Calmodulin (CaM) is a Ca-binding protein that binds to, and can directly inhibit cardiac ryanodine receptor calcium release channels (RyR2). Animal studies have shown that RyR2 hyperphosphorylation reduces CaM binding to RyR2 in failing hearts, but data are lacking on how CaM regulates human RyR2 and how this regulation is affected by RyR2 phosphorylation. Physiological concentrations of CaM (100?nM) inhibited the diastolic activity of RyR2 isolated from failing human hearts by ~50% but had no effect on RyR2 from healthy human hearts. Using FRET between donor-FKBP12.6 and acceptor-CaM bound to RyR2, we determined that CaM binds to RyR2 from healthy human heart with a Kd?=?121?±?14?nM. Ex-vivo phosphorylation/dephosphorylation experiments suggested that the divergent CaM regulation of healthy and failing human RyR2 was caused by differences in RyR2 phosphorylation by protein kinase A and Ca-CaM-dependent kinase II. Ca2+-spark measurements in murine cardiomyocytes harbouring RyR2 phosphomimetic or phosphoablated mutants at S2814 and S2808 suggest that phosphorylation of residues corresponding to either human RyR2-S2808 or S2814 is both necessary and sufficient for RyR2 regulation by CaM. Our results challenge the current concept that CaM universally functions as a canonical inhibitor of RyR2 across species. Rather, CaM's biological action on human RyR2 appears to be more nuanced, with inhibitory activity only on phosphorylated RyR2 channels, which occurs during exercise or in patients with heart failure.
Project description:The four integral delta subunits of the phosphorylase kinase (PhK) complex are identical to calmodulin (CaM) and confer Ca(2+) sensitivity to the enzyme, but bind independently of Ca(2+). In addition to binding Ca(2+), an obligatory activator of PhK's phosphoryltransferase activity, the delta subunits transmit allosteric signals to PhK's remaining alpha, beta, and gamma subunits in activating the enzyme. Under mild conditions about 10% of the delta subunits can be exchanged for exogenous CaM. In this study, a CaM double-mutant derivatized with a fluorescent donor-acceptor pair (CaM-DA) was exchanged for delta to assess the conformational substates of PhKdelta by single molecule fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) +/-Ca(2+). The exchanged subunits were determined to occupy distinct conformations, depending on the absence or presence of Ca(2+), as observed by alterations of the compact, mid-length, and extended populations of their FRET distance distributions. Specifically, the combined predominant mid-length and less common compact conformations of PhKdelta became less abundant in the presence of Ca(2+), with the delta subunits assuming more extended conformations. This behavior is in contrast to the compact forms commonly observed for many of CaM's Ca(2+)-dependent interactions with other proteins. In addition, the conformational distributions of the exchanged PhKdelta subunits were distinct from those of CaM-DA free in solution, +/-Ca(2+), as well as from exogenous CaM bound to the PhK complex as delta'. The distinction between delta and delta' is that the latter binds only in the presence of Ca(2+), but stoichiometrically and at a different location in the complex than delta.
Project description:The Ca2+-sensing protein calmodulin (CaM) is a popular model of biological ion binding since it is both experimentally tractable and essential to survival in all eukaryotic cells. CaM modulates hundreds of target proteins and is sensitive to complex patterns of Ca2+ exposure, indicating that it functions as a sophisticated dynamic transducer rather than a simple on/off switch. Many details of this transduction function are not well understood. Fourier transform infrared (FTIR) spectroscopy, ultrafast 2D infrared (2D IR) spectroscopy, and electronic structure calculations were used to probe interactions between bound metal ions (Ca2+ and several trivalent lanthanide ions) and the carboxylate groups in CaM's EF-hand ion-coordinating sites. Since Tb3+ is commonly used as a luminescent Ca2+ analog in studies of protein-ion binding, it is important to characterize distinctions between the coordination of Ca2+ and the lanthanides in CaM. Although functional assays indicate that Tb3+ fully activates many Ca2+-dependent proteins, our FTIR spectra indicate that Tb3+, La3+, and Lu3+ disrupt the bidentate coordination geometry characteristic of the CaM binding sites' strongly conserved position 12 glutamate residue. The 2D IR spectra indicate that, relative to the Ca2+-bound form, lanthanide-bound CaM exhibits greater conformational flexibility and larger structural fluctuations within its binding sites. Time-dependent 2D IR lineshapes indicate that binding sites in Ca2+-CaM occupy well-defined configurations, whereas binding sites in lanthanide-bound-CaM are more disordered. Overall, the results show that binding to lanthanide ions significantly alters the conformation and dynamics of CaM's binding sites.
Project description:Ca(2+)-calmodulin (CaM) regulates varieties of ion channels, including Transient Receptor Potential vanilloid subtype 4 (TrpV4). It has previously been proposed that internal Ca(2+) increases TrpV4 activity through Ca(2+)-CaM binding to a C-terminal Ca(2+)-CaM binding domain (CBD). We confirmed this model by directly presenting Ca(2+)-CaM protein to membrane patches excised from TrpV4-expressing oocytes. Over 50 TRPV4 mutations are now known to cause heritable skeletal dysplasia (SD) and other diseases in human. We have previously examined 14 SD alleles and found them to all have gain-of-function effects, with the gain of constitutive open probability paralleling disease severity. Among the 14 SD alleles examined, E797K and P799L are located immediate upstream of the CBD. They not only have increase basal activity, but, unlike the wild-type or other SD-mutant channels examined, they were greatly reduced in their response to Ca(2+)-CaM. Deleting a 10-residue upstream peptide (?795-804) that covers the two SD mutant sites resulted in strong constitutive activity and the complete lack of Ca(2+)-CaM response. We propose that the region immediately upstream of CBD is an autoinhibitory domain that maintains the closed state through electrostatic interactions, and adjacent detachable Ca(2+)-CaM binding to CBD sterically interferes with this autoinhibition. This work further supports the notion that TrpV4 mutations cause SD by constitutive leakage. However, the closed conformation is likely destabilized by various mutations by different mechanisms, including the permanent removal of an autoinhibition documented here.