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J Biol Chem. 1991 Nov 15;266(32):21458-65.

Expression of calreticulin in Escherichia coli and identification of its Ca2+ binding domains.

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Cardiovascular Disease Research Group, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


Recombinant calreticulin and discrete domains of calreticulin were expressed in Escherichia coli, using the glutathione S-transferase fusion protein system, and their Ca2+ binding properties were determined. Native calreticulin bound 1 mol of Ca2+/mol of protein with high affinity, and also bound approximately 20 mol of Ca2+/mol of protein with low affinity. Both Ca2+ binding sites were present in the recombinant calreticulin indicating that proper folding of the protein was achieved using this system. Calreticulin is structurally divided into three distinct domains: the N-domain encompassing the first 200 residues; the P-domain which is enriched in proline residues (residue 187-317); and the C-domain which covers the carboxyl-terminal quarter of the protein (residues 310-401), and contains a high concentration of acidic residues. These domains were expressed in E. coli, isolated, and purified, and their Ca2+ binding properties were analyzed. The C-domain bound approximately 18 mol of Ca2+/mol of protein with a dissociation constant of approximately 2 mM. The P-domain bound approximately 0.6-1 mol of Ca2+/mol of protein with a dissociation constant of approximately 10 microM. The P-domain and the C-domain, when expressed together as the P+C-domain, bound Ca2+ with both high affinity and low affinity, reminiscent of both full length recombinant calreticulin and native calreticulin. In contrast the N-domain, did not bind any detectable amount of 45Ca2+. We conclude that calreticulin has two quite distinct types of Ca2+ binding sites, and that these sites are in different structural regions of the molecule. The P-domain binds Ca2+ with high affinity and low capacity, whereas the C-domain binds Ca2+ with low affinity and high capacity.

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