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Nat Struct Biol. 1995 Sep;2(9):758-67.

Calcium-induced conformational transition revealed by the solution structure of apo calmodulin.

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Division of Molecular and Structural Biology, Ontario Cancer Institute, University of Toronto, Canada.


The solution structure of Ca(2+)-free calmodulin has been determined by NMR spectroscopy, and is compared to the previously reported structure of the Ca(2+)-saturated form. The removal of Ca2+ causes the interhelical angles of four EF-hand motifs to increase by 36 degrees-44 degrees. This leads to major changes in surface properties, including the closure of the deep hydrophobic cavity essential for target protein recognition. Concerted movements of helices A and D with respect to B and C, and of helices E and H with respect to F and G are likely responsible for the cooperative Ca(2+)-binding property observed between two adjacent EF-hand sites in the amino- and carboxy-terminal domains.

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