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J Biol Chem. 2004 Feb 13;279(7):5661-6. Epub 2003 Oct 31.

Calmodulin binding to the Fas death domain. Regulation by Fas activation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama 35294-0007, USA.


Fas (APO-1/CD95) is a cell surface receptor that initiates apoptotic pathways, and its cytoplasmic domain interacts with various molecules suggesting that Fas signaling is complex and regulated by multiple proteins. Calmodulin (CaM) is an intracellular Ca(2+)-binding protein, and it mediates many of the effects of Ca2+. Here, we demonstrate that CaM binds to Fas directly and identify the CaM-binding site on the cytoplasmic death domain (DD) of Fas. Fas binds to CaM-Sepharose and is co-immunoprecipitated with CaM. Other death receptors, such as tumor necrosis factor receptor, DR4, and DR5 do not bind to CaM. The interaction between Fas and CaM is Ca(2+)-dependent. Deletion mapping analysis with various GST-fused Fas cytoplasmic domain fragments revealed that the fragment containing helices 1, 2, and 3 of the Fas DD has the CaM-binding ability. Sequence analysis of this fragment predicted a potential CaM-binding site in helix 2 and connected loops. A valine 254 to asparagine mutation in this region, which is analogous to the identified mutant allele of Fas in lpr mice that have a deficiency in Fas-mediated apoptosis, showed reduced CaM binding. Computer modeling of the interaction between CaM and helix 2 of the Fas DD predicted that amino acids, which are important for Fas-CaM binding, and point mutations of these amino acids caused reduced Fas-CaM binding. The interaction between Fas and CaM is increased approximately 2-fold early upon Fas activation (at 30 min) and is decreased to approximately 50% of control at 2 h. These findings suggest a novel function of CaM in Fas-mediated apoptosis.

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