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J Biol Chem. 1997 Oct 10;272(41):25907-12.

Caveolin versus calmodulin. Counterbalancing allosteric modulators of endothelial nitric oxide synthase.

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Cardiovascular Division, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Nitric oxide is synthesized in diverse mammalian tissues by a family of calmodulin-dependent nitric oxide synthases. The endothelial isoform of nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) is targeted to the specialized signal-transducing membrane domains termed plasmalemmal caveolae. Caveolin, the principal structural protein in caveolae, interacts with eNOS and leads to enzyme inhibition in a reversible process modulated by Ca2+-calmodulin (Michel, J. B., Feron, O., Sacks, D., and Michel, T. (1997) J. Biol. Chem. 272, 15583-15586). Caveolin also interacts with other structurally distinct signaling proteins via a specific region identified within the caveolin sequence (amino acids 82-101) that appears to subserve the role of a "scaffolding domain." We now report that the co-immunoprecipitation of eNOS with caveolin is completely and specifically blocked by an oligopeptide corresponding to the caveolin scaffolding domain. Peptides corresponding to this domain markedly inhibit nitric oxide synthase activity in endothelial membranes and interact directly with the enzyme to inhibit activity of purified recombinant eNOS expressed in Escherichia coli. The inhibition of purified eNOS by the caveolin scaffolding domain peptide is competitive and completely reversed by Ca2+-calmodulin. These studies establish that caveolin, via its scaffolding domain, directly forms an inhibitory complex with eNOS and suggest that caveolin inhibits eNOS by abrogating the enzyme's activation by calmodulin.

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