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Protein Sci. 2010 Jun;19(6):1180-90. doi: 10.1002/pro.394.

Analysis and prediction of calcium-binding pockets from apo-protein structures exhibiting calcium-induced localized conformational changes.

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Department of Computer Science, Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30303, USA.


Calcium binding in proteins exhibits a wide range of polygonal geometries that relate directly to an equally diverse set of biological functions. The binding process stabilizes protein structures and typically results in local conformational change and/or global restructuring of the backbone. Previously, we established the MUG program, which utilized multiple geometries in the Ca(2+)-binding pockets of holoproteins to identify such pockets, ignoring possible Ca(2+)-induced conformational change. In this article, we first report our progress in the analysis of Ca(2+)-induced conformational changes followed by improved prediction of Ca(2+)-binding sites in the large group of Ca(2+)-binding proteins that exhibit only localized conformational changes. The MUG(SR) algorithm was devised to incorporate side chain torsional rotation as a predictor. The output from MUG(SR) presents groups of residues where each group, typically containing two to five residues, is a potential binding pocket. MUG(SR) was applied to both X-ray apo structures and NMR holo structures, which did not use calcium distance constraints in structure calculations. Predicted pockets were validated by comparison with homologous holo structures. Defining a "correct hit" as a group of residues containing at least two true ligand residues, the sensitivity was at least 90%; whereas for a "correct hit" defined as a group of residues containing at least three true ligand residues, the sensitivity was at least 78%. These data suggest that Ca(2+)-binding pockets are at least partially prepositioned to chelate the ion in the apo form of the protein.

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