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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.