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Biochemistry. 2007 Jul 17;46(28):8288-300. Epub 2007 Jun 20.

Differential binding of calmodulin domains to constitutive and inducible nitric oxide synthase enzymes.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario N2L 3G1, Canada.


Calmodulin (CaM) is a Ca2+ signal transducing protein that binds and activates many cellular enzymes with physiological relevance, including the mammalian nitric oxide synthase (NOS) isozymes: endothelial NOS (eNOS), neuronal NOS (nNOS), and inducible NOS (iNOS). The mechanism of CaM binding and activation to the iNOS enzyme is poorly understood in part due to the strength of the bound complex and the difficulty of assessing the role played by regions outside of the CaM-binding domain. To further elucidate these processes, we have developed the methodology to investigate CaM binding to the iNOS holoenzyme and generate CaM mutant proteins selectively labeled with fluorescent dyes at specific residues in the N-terminal lobe, C-terminal lobe, or linker region of the protein. In the present study, an iNOS CaM coexpression system allowed for the investigation of CaM binding to the holoenzyme; three different mutant CaM proteins with cysteine substitutions at residues T34 (N-domain), K75 (central linker), and T110 (C-domain) were fluorescently labeled with acrylodan or Alexa Fluor 546 C5-maleimide. These proteins were used to investigate the differential association of each region of CaM with the three NOS isoforms. We have also N-terminally labeled an iNOS CaM-binding domain peptide with dabsyl chloride in order to perform FRET studies between Alexa-labeled residues in the N- and C-terminal domains of CaM to determine CaM's orientation when associated to iNOS. Our FRET results show that CaM binds to the iNOS CaM-binding domain in an antiparallel orientation. Our steady-state fluorescence and circular dichroism studies show that both the N- and C-terminal EF hand pairs of CaM bind to the CaM-binding domain peptide of iNOS in a Ca2+-independent manner; however, only the C-terminal domain showed large Ca2+-dependent conformational changes when associated with the target sequence. Steady-state fluorescence showed that Alexa-labeled CaM proteins are capable of binding to holo-iNOS coexpressed with nCaM, but this complex is a transient species and can be displaced with the addition of excess CaM. Our results show that CaM does not bind to iNOS in a sequential manner as previously proposed for the nNOS enzyme. This investigation provides additional insight into why iNOS remains active even under basal levels of Ca2+ in the cell.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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