, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 213–222

Metal ion binding to calmodulin: NMR and fluorescence studies

  • Hui Ouyang
  • Hans J. Vogel

DOI: 10.1023/A:1009226215543

Cite this article as:
Ouyang, H. & Vogel, H.J. Biometals (1998) 11: 213. doi:10.1023/A:1009226215543


Calmodulin is an important second messenger protein which is involved in a large variety of cellular path-ways.Calmodulin is sensitive to fluctuations in the intracellular Ca levels and is activated by the bindingof four Ca ions. In spite of the important role it plays in signal transduction pathways, it shows a surpris-inglybroad specificity for binding metal ions. Using 15N-Gly biosynthetically-labelled calmodulin, we havestudied the binding of different metal ions to calmodulin, including K+, Na+, Ca, Mg, Zn, Cd, Pb, Hg, Sr, La and Lu, by 1H, 15N HMQC NMR experiments. The effects of these ions on the substrate-bindingability of calmodulin have also been studied by fluorescence spectroscopy of the single tryptophan residue in a 22-residue synthetic peptide encompassing the skeletal muscle myosin light chain kinase calmod-ulin-binding domain. Most of these metal ions can activate a calmodulin target enzyme to some extent,though they bind to calmodulin in a different manner. Mg, which is of direct physiological interest, has adistinct site-preference for calmodulin, as it shows the highest affinity for site I in the N-terminal domain,while the C-terminal sites III and IV are the high affinity binding sites for Ca (as well as for Cd ). At ahigh concentration of Mg and a low concentration of Ca, calmodulin can bind Mg in its N-terminallobe while the C-terminal domain is occupied by Ca; this species could exist in resting cells in which the Mg level significantly exceeds that of Ca. Moreover, our data suggest that the toxicity of Pb-which,like Sr, binds with an equal and high affinity to all four sites-may be related to its capacity to tightlybind and improperly activate calmodulin.

calmodulin fluorescence spectroscopy metal ions NMR 

Copyright information

© Chapman and Hall 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hui Ouyang
    • 1
  • Hans J. Vogel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesThe University of CalgaryCanada