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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2001 Feb 9;1545(1-2):245-54.

Ca(2+)-induced structural changes in rat m-calpain revealed by partial proteolysis.

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Department of Biochemistry and the Protein Engineering Network of Centres of Excellence, Queen's University, Kingston, Ont. K7L 3N6, Canada.


Partial proteolysis by exogenous proteases in the presence and absence of Ca(2+) was used to map the protease-resistant domains in m-calpain, and to obtain evidence for the conformational changes induced in this thiol protease by Ca(2+). The complication of autoproteolysis was avoided by using the inactive Cys105Ser calpain mutant. Both trypsin and chymotrypsin produced similar cleavage patterns from the large subunit (domains I-IV), while the small subunit (domain VI) was largely unaffected. N-Terminal sequencing of the major products showed that hydrolysis occurred in the N-terminal anchor peptide, which binds domain I to domain VI, at a site close to the C terminus of domain II, and at several sites within domain III. Of particular importance to the overall Ca(2+)-induced conformational changes was the increase in mobility and accessibility of domain III. The same sites were cleaved in the presence and absence of Ca(2+), but with one exception digestion was much more rapid in the presence of Ca(2+). The exception was a site close to residue 255 located within the active site cleft. This site was accessible to cleavage in the absence of Ca(2+), when the active site is not assembled, but was protected in the presence of Ca(2+). This result supports the hypothesis that Ca(2+) induces movement of domains I and II closer together to form the functional active site of calpain.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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