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J Mol Biol. 1997 Oct 17;273(1):238-55.

Structural details of a calcium-induced molecular switch: X-ray crystallographic analysis of the calcium-saturated N-terminal domain of troponin C at 1.75 A resolution.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.


We have solved and refined the crystal and molecular structures of the calcium-saturated N-terminal domain of troponin C (TnC) to 1.75 A resolution. This has allowed for the first detailed analysis of the calcium binding sites of this molecular switch in the calcium-loaded state. The results provide support for the proposed binding order and qualitatively, for the affinity of calcium in the two regulatory calcium binding sites. Based on a comparison with the high-resolution apo-form of TnC we propose a possible mechanism for the calcium-mediated exposure of a large hydrophobic surface that is central to the initiation of muscle contraction within the cell.

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