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Biochem Cell Biol. 1990 Mar;68(3):587-601.

Calcium binding proteins. Elucidating the contributions to calcium affinity from an analysis of species variants and peptide fragments.

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Division of Biological Sciences, National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa, Ont.


This paper describes the sequence homology of calcium-binding proteins belonging to the troponin C superfamily. Specifically, this similarity has been examined for 276 twelve-residue calcium-binding loops. It has been found that, in the calcium-binding loop, several residues appear invariant, regardless of the species of origin or the affinity of the protein. These residues are Asp at position 1 (+X of the coordinating position of the calcium), Asp or Asn at position 3 (+Y), Gly at position 6, Ile at position 8, and Glu at position 12 (-Z). It has also been found that conservation of certain residues can vary in similar sites in similar proteins. For example, position 3 (+Y) in site 3 of troponin C is always an Asn, whereas in calmodulin the residue is always Asp. This study also examined the calcium-binding affinities of peptide fragments comprising the loop, helix-loop, loop-helix, and helix-loop-helix. These were compared with larger enzymatic or chemically generated protein fragments in an effort to understand the various contributions to the calcium-binding affinity of a single-site versus a two-site domain as found in troponin C and calmodulin. Based on free energy differences, it was found that a 34-residue helix-loop-helix peptide represents about 60% of the binding affinity found in the intact protein. Cooperativity with a second calcium binding site accounted for the remaining 40% of the affinity.

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