Identification of the calmodulin binding domain of connexin 43. Academic Article uri icon


  • Calmodulin (CaM) has been implicated in mediating the Ca(2+)-dependent regulation of gap junctions. This report identifies a CaM-binding motif comprising residues 136-158 in the intracellular loop of Cx43. A 23-mer peptide encompassing this CaM-binding motif was shown to bind Ca(2+)-CaM with 1:1 stoichiometry by using various biophysical approaches, including surface plasmon resonance, circular dichroism, fluorescence spectroscopy, and NMR. Far UV circular dichroism studies indicated that the Cx43-derived peptide increased its alpha-helical contents on CaM binding. Fluorescence and NMR studies revealed conformational changes of both the peptide and CaM following formation of the CaM-peptide complex. The apparent dissociation constant of the peptide binding to CaM in physiologic K(+) is in the range of 0.7-1 microM. Upon binding of the peptide to CaM, the apparent K(d) of Ca(2+) for CaM decreased from 2.9 +/- 0.1 to 1.6 +/- 0.1 microM, and the Hill coefficient n(H) increased from 2.1 +/- 0.1 to 3.3 +/- 0.5. Transient expression in HeLa cells of two different mutant Cx43-EYFP constructs without the putative Cx43 CaM-binding site eliminated the Ca(2+)-dependent inhibition of Cx43 gap junction permeability, confirming that residues 136-158 in the intracellular loop of Cx43 contain the CaM-binding site that mediates the Ca(2+)-dependent regulation of Cx43 gap junctions. Our results provide the first direct evidence that CaM binds to a specific region of the ubiquitous gap junction protein Cx43 in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner, providing a molecular basis for the well characterized Ca(2+)-dependent inhibition of Cx43-containing gap junctions.

published proceedings

  • J Biol Chem

author list (cited authors)

  • Zhou, Y., Yang, W., Lurtz, M. M., Ye, Y., Huang, Y., Lee, H., ... Yang, J. J.

citation count

  • 74

complete list of authors

  • Zhou, Yubin||Yang, Wei||Lurtz, Monica M||Ye, Yiming||Huang, Yun||Lee, Hsiau-Wei||Chen, Yanyi||Louis, Charles F||Yang, Jenny J

publication date

  • November 2007