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Biochemistry. 1998 Apr 21;37(16):5450-6.

Thermodynamic analysis of calcium and magnesium binding to calmodulin.

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Faculté de Pharmacie, UPRESA CNRS 6032, Marseille, France.


To elucidate some aspects still debated concerning the interaction of Ca2+ and Mg2+ with CaM, the thermodynamic binding parameters of Ca2+-CaM and Mg2+-CaM complexes were characterized by flow dialysis and isothermal microcalorimetry under different experimental conditions. In particular, the enthalpy and entropy changes associated with Ca2+ and Mg2+ binding to their sites were determined, allowing a better understanding of the mechanism underlying cation-CaM interactions. Ca2+-CaM interaction follows an enthalpy-entropy compensation relationship, suggesting that CaM explores a subspace of isoenergetical conformations which is modified by Ca2+ binding. This Ca2+-induced change in CaM dynamics is proposed to play a key role in CaM function, i.e. in its interaction with and/or activation of target proteins. Furthermore, data show that Mg2+ does not act as a direct competitor for Ca2+ binding on the four main Ca2+ binding sites, but rather as an allosteric effector. This implies that the four main Mg2+ binding sites are distinct from the EF-hand Ca2+ binding sites. Finally, Ca2+ is shown to interact with auxiliary binding sites on CaM. These weak affinity sites were thermodynamically characterized. The results presented here challenge the current accepted view of CaM ion binding.

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