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EF-hand Ca(2+)-binding proteins participate in both modulation of Ca(2+) signals and direct transduction of the ionic signal into downstream biochemical events. The range of biochemical functions of these proteins is correlated with differences in the way in which they respond to the binding of Ca(2+). The EF-hand domains of calbindin D(9k) and calmodulin are homologous, yet they respond to the binding of calcium ions in a drastically different manner. A series of comparative analyses of their structures enabled the development of hypotheses about which residues in these proteins control the calcium-induced changes in conformation. To test our understanding of the relationship between protein sequence and structure, we specifically designed the F36G mutation of the EF-hand protein calbindin D(9k) to alter the packing of helices I and II in the apoprotein. The three-dimensional structure of apo F36G was determined in solution by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy and showed that the design was successful. Surprisingly, significant structural perturbations also were found to extend far from the site of mutation. The observation of such long-range effects provides clear evidence that four-helix EF-hand domains should be treated as a single globally cooperative unit. A hypothetical mechanism for how the long-range effects are transmitted is described. Our results support the concept of energetic and structural coupling of the key residues that are crucial for a protein's fold and function.
The lectin peanut agglutinin (PNA) and antibodies to short (S)- and medium to long wavelength (M/L)-sensitive cones were utilized in order to define the relative distributions of the two spectral types of cone across the domestic cat's retina. These values, in turn, were compared to those from retinas that had been experimentally detached from the retinal pigment epithelium. The pattern of cone distribution in the normal cat's retina is established by the preponderance of M-cones that constitute between 80% and 90% of all cones. Their peak density of over 26,000 cells/mm(2) resides at the area centralis. Though M-cone density decreases smoothly to the ora serrata where they have densities as low as 2,200 cells/mm(2), the density decrease along the nasotemporal axis is slower,creating a horizontal region of higher cone density. S-cones constitute between 10% and 20% of all cones, the number being quite variable even between individual animals of similar age. The highest S-cone densities are found in three distinct locations: at the superior far periphery near the ora serrata, immediately at the area centralis itself, and in a broad zone comprising the central and lower half of the inferior hemiretina. S-cones in the cat retina do not form a regular geometrical array at any eccentricity. As for the detached cat retina, the density of labeled S-cone outer segments (OS) decreases rapidly as early as 1 day postdetachment and continues decreasing to day 28 when the density of cones labeling with anti-S opsin has dropped to less than 10% of normal. This response points to a profound difference between rods and cones; essentially all rods, including those without OS, continue to express their opsin even in long-term detachments. The implications of these results for visual recovery after retinal reattachment are discussed.
Copyright 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
The cooperative binding of Ca2+ ions is an essential functional property of the EF-hand family of Ca2+-binding proteins. To understand how these proteins function, it is essential to characterize intermediate binding states in addition to the apo- and holo-proteins. The three-dimensional solution structure and fast time scale internal motional dynamics of the backbone have been determined for the half-saturated state of the N56A mutant of calbindin D9k with Ca2+ bound only in the N-terminal site. The extent of conformational reorganization and a loss of flexibility in the C-terminal EF-hand upon binding of an ion in the N-terminal EF-hand provide clear evidence of the importance of site-site interactions in this family of proteins, and demonstrates the strength of long-range effects in the cooperative EF-hand Ca2+-binding domain.
Since the initial reports showing the ability of electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) to study intact noncovalent biomolecular complexes, an increasing number of uses for this technique in studying biochemical systems is emerging. We have investigated the ability of ESI-MS to characterize the metal-binding properties of calcium (Ca2+) binding proteins by studying the incorporation of Ca2+ and cadmium (Cd2+) into wild-type and mutant calbindin D9K. ESI-MS showed that wild-type calbindin D9K binds two Ca2+ ions with similar affinities while the binding of two Cd2+ ions is sequential, as is the binding of the two Ca2+ or Cd2+ ions to the N56A mutant of calbindin. The binding of Ca2+ to the wild-type protein was clearly seen to be cooperative. These results demonstrate the potential efficacy of ESI-MS to discriminate between cooperative and independent site metal binding to metalloproteins.
Hydrophobic core residues have a marked influence on the Ca2+-binding properties of calbindin D9k, even though there are no direct contacts between these residues and the bound Ca2+ ions. Eleven different mutants with substitutions in the hydrophobic core were produced, and their equilibrium Ca2+-binding constants measured from Ca2+ titrations in the presence of chromophoric chelators. The Ca2+-dissociation rate constants were estimated from Ca2+ titrations followed by 1H NMR1 and were measured more accurately using stopped-flow fluorescence. The parameters were measured at four KCl concentrations to assess the salt dependence of the perturbations. The high similarity between the NMR spectra of mutants and wild-type calbindin D9k suggests that the structure is largely unperturbed by the substitutions. More detailed NMR investigations of the mutant in which Val61 is substituted by Ala showed that the mutation causes only very minimal perturbations in the immediate vicinity of residue 61. Substitutions of alanines or glycines for bulky residues in the center of the core were found to have significant effects on both Ca2+ affinity and dissociation rates. These substitutions caused a reduction in affinity and an increase in off-rate. Small effects, both increases and decreases, were observed for substitutions involving residues far from the Ca2+ sites and toward the outer part of the hydrophobic core. The mutant with the substitution Phe66 --> Trp behaved differently from all other mutants, and displayed a 25-fold increase in overall affinity of binding two Ca2+ ions and a 6-fold reduction in calcium dissociation rate. A strong correlation (R = 0.94) was found between the observed Ca2+-dissociation rates and affinities, as well as between the salt dependence of the off-rate and the distance to the nearest Ca2+-coordinating atom. There was also a strong correlation (R = 0.95) between the Ca2+ affinity and stability of the Ca2+ state and a correlation (R = 0. 69) between the Ca2+ affinity and stability of the apo state, as calculated from the results in the present and preceding paper in this issue [Julenius, K., Thulin, E., Linse, S., and Finn, B. E. (1998) Biochemistry 37, 8915-8925]. The change in salt dependencies of koff and cooperativity were most pronounced for residues completely buried in the core of the protein (solvent accessible surface area approximately 0). Altogether, the results suggest that the hydrophobic core residues promote Ca2+ binding both by contributing to the preformation of the Ca2+ sites in the apo state and by preferentially stabilizing the Ca2+-bound state.
BACKGROUND - Calcyclin is a member of the S100 subfamily of EF-hand Ca(2+)-binding proteins. This protein has implied roles in the regulation of cell growth and division, exhibits deregulated expression in association with cell transformation, and is found in high abundance in certain breast cancer cell lines. The novel homodimeric structural motif first identified for apo calcyclin raised the possibility that S100 proteins recognize their targets in a manner that is distinctly different from that of the prototypical EF-hand Ca2+ sensor, calmodulin. The NMR solution structure of Ca(2+)-bound calcyclin has been determined in order to identify Ca(2+)-induced structural changes and to obtain insights into the mechanism of Ca(2+)-triggered target protein recognition.
RESULTS - The three-dimensional structure of Ca(2+)-bound calcyclin was calculated with 1372 experimental constraints, and is represented by an ensemble of 20 structures that have a backbone root mean square deviation of 1.9 A for the eight helices. Ca(2+)-bound calcyclin has the same symmetric homodimeric fold as observed for the apo protein. The helical packing within the globular domains and the subunit interface also change little upon Ca2+ binding. A distinct homology was found between the Ca(2+)-bound states of the calcyclin subunit and the monomeric S100 protein calbindin D9k.
CONCLUSIONS - Only very modest Ca(2+)-induced changes are observed in the structure of calcyclin, in sharp contrast to the domain-opening that occurs in calmodulin and related Ca(2+)-sensor proteins. Thus, calcyclin, and by inference other members of the S100 family, must have a different mode for transducing Ca2+ signals and recognizing target proteins. This proposal raises significant questions concerning the purported roles of S100 proteins as Ca2+ sensors.
The three-dimensional solution structures of proteins determined with NMR-derived constraints are almost always calculated in vacuo. The solution structure of (Ca2+)2-calbindin D9k has been redetermined by new restrained molecular dynamics (MD) calculations that include Ca2+ ions and explicit solvent molecules. Four parallel sets of MD refinements were run to provide accurate comparisons of structures produced in vacuo, in vacuo with Ca2+ ions, and with two different protocols in a solvent bath with Ca2+ ions. The structural ensembles were analyzed in terms of structural definition, molecular energies, packing density, solvent-accessible surface, hydrogen bonds, and the coordination of calcium ions in the two binding loops. Refinement including Ca2+ ions and explicit solvent results in significant improvements in the precision and accuracy of the structure, particularly in the binding loops. These results are consistent with results previously obtained in free MD simulations of proteins in solution and show that the rMD refined NMR-derived solution structures of proteins, especially metalloproteins, can be significantly improved by these strategies.
Current methods of determining the rotational diffusion tensors of proteins in solution by NMR spectroscopy exclusively utilize relaxation rate constants for backbone amide 15N spins. However, the distributions of orientations of N-H bond vectors are not isotropic in many proteins, and correlations between bond vector orientations reduce the accuracy and precision of rotational diffusion tensors extracted from 15N spin relaxation data. The inclusion of both 13C alpha and 15N spin relaxation rate constants increases the robustness of the diffusion tensor analysis because the orientations of the C alpha-H alpha bond vectors differ from the orientations of the N-H bond vectors. Theoretical and experimental results for calbindin D9k, granulocyte colony stimulating factor, and ubiquitin, three proteins with different distributions of N-H and C alpha-H alpha bond vectors, are used to illustrate the advantages of the simultaneous utilization of 13C alpha and 15N relaxation data.
The homodimeric S100 protein calcyclin has been studied in the apo state by two-dimensional 1H NMR spectroscopy. Using a combination of scalar correlation and NOE experiments, sequence-specific 1H NMR assignments were obtained for all but one backbone and > 90% of the side-chain resonances. To our knowledge, the 2 x 90 residue (20 kDa) calcyclin dimer is the largest protein system for which such complete assignments have been made by purely homonuclear methods. Sequential and medium-range NOEs and slowly exchanging backbone amide protons identified directly the four helices and the short antiparallel beta-type interaction between the two binding loops that comprise each subunit of the dimer. Further analysis of NOEs enabled the unambiguous assignment of 556 intrasubunit distance constraints, 24 intrasubunit hydrogen bonding constraints, and 2 x 26 intersubunit distance constraints. The conformation of the monomer subunit was refined by distance geometry and restrained molecular dynamics calculations using the intrasubunit constraints only. Calculation of the dimer structure starting from this conformational ensemble has been reported elsewhere. The extent of structural homology among the apo calcyclin subunit, the monomer subunit of apo S100 beta, and monomeric apo calbindin D9k has been examined in detail by comparing 1H NMR chemical shifts and secondary structures. This analysis was extended to a comprehensive comparison of the three-dimensional structures of the calcyclin monomer subunit and calbindin D9k, which revealed greater similarity in the packing of their hydrophobic cores than was anticipated previously. Together, these results support the hypothesis that all members of the S100 family have similar core structures and similar modes of dimerization. Analysis of the amphiphilicity of Helix IV is used to explain why calbindin D9k is monomeric, but full-length S100 proteins form homodimers.
The three-dimensional solution structure of calcium-loaded calbindin D9k has been determined using experimental constraints obtained from nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. A total of 1176 constraints (16 per residue overall, 32 per residue for the core residues) was used for the final refinement, including 1002 distance and 174 dihedral angle constraints. In addition, 23 hydrogen bond constraints were used for the generation of initial structures. Stereospecific assignments were made for 37 of 61 (61%) prochiral methylene protons and the methyl groups of all three valine residues and five out of 12 leucine residues. These constraints were used as input for a series of calculations of three-dimensional structures using a combination of distance geometry and restrained molecular dynamics. The 33 best structures selected for further analysis have no distance constraint violations greater than 0.3 A and good local geometries as reflected by low total energies (< or = -1014 kcal/mol in the AMBER 4.0 force field). The core of the protein consists of four well-defined helices with root-mean-square deviations from the average of 0.45 A for the N, C alpha and C' backbone atoms. These helices are packed in an antiparallel fashion to form two helix-loop-helix calcium-binding motifs, termed EF-hands. The two EF-hands are joined at one end by a ten-residue linker segment, and at the other by a short beta-type interaction between the two calcium-binding loops. Overall, the average solution structure of calbindin D9k is very similar to the crystal structure, with a pairwise root-mean-square deviation of 0.85 A for the N, C alpha and C' backbone atoms of the four helices. The differences that are observed between the solution and the crystal structures are attributed to specific crystal contacts, increased side-chain flexibility in solution, or artifacts arising from molecular dynamics refinement of the solution structures in vacuo.