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Nat Struct Biol. 1997 Jul;4(7):539-47.

Crystal structure of calcium bound domain VI of calpain at 1.9 A resolution and its role in enzyme assembly, regulation, and inhibitor binding.

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Center for Macromolecular Crystallography, University of Alabama at Birmingham 35294, USA.


The three dimensional structure of calcium-bound domain VI of porcine calpain has been determined to 1.9 A resolution. The crystal structure reveals five EF-hands, one more than previously suggested. There are two EF-hand pairs, one pair (EF1-EF2) displays an 'open' conformation and the other (EF3-EF4) a 'closed' conformation. Unusually, a calcium atom is found at the C-terminal end of the calcium binding loop of EF4. With two additional residues in the calcium binding loop, the fifth EF-hand (EF5) is in a 'closed' conformation. EF5 pairs up with the corresponding fifth EF-hand of a non-crystallographically related molecule. Considering the EF5's role in a homodimer formation of domain VI, we suggest a model for the assembly of heterodimeric calpain. The crystal structure of a Ca2+ bound domain VI-inhibitor (PD150606) complex has been refined to 2.1 A resolution. A possible mode for calpain inhibition is discussed.

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