Molecular recognition by calmodulin: pressure-induced reorganization of a novel calmodulin-peptide complex. Academic Article uri icon


  • The interaction of apocalmodulin (apoCaM) with a peptide (Neurop) based on the primary sequence of the calmodulin-binding domain of neuromodulin has been studied by fluorescence spectroscopy. The 1:1 complex (12 microM) formed between apoCaM and the Neurop peptide is extremely sensitive to salt and is half dissociated in less than 0.1 M KCl, suggesting that electrostatic interactions contribute strongly to complex formation. Ion pair interactions are frequently sensitive to high hydrostatic pressure due to electrostriction effects in the solvated ion state. Application of high pressure to the apoCaM.Neurop complex causes a red shift of the Neurop tryptophan emission center of mass and a reduced residual anisotropy but with insignificant reduction in quantum yield. The transition is smooth, reversible, and apparently two-state with a midpoint pressure of approximately 0.8 kbar. The residual anisotropy, quantum yield, and center of mass of the emission spectrum are consistent with the movement of the tryptophan side chain to a more solvated, slightly less restricted environment upon the pressure-induced transition. The pressure effect is independent of the concentration of the complex. These and other data are consistent with the pressure-induced reorganization being a unimolecular event not requiring dissociation of the complex. A volume change of approximately 66 mL mol-1 and a free energy change of approximately 1.7 kcal mol-1 are associated with the reorganization. The residual interactions maintaining the complex under high pressure are characterized by low standard molar volume and/or high standard free energy changes upon disruption but are destroyed by 200 mM KCl. It is postulated that the main effect of salt on the complex at high pressure is to drive the collapse of the hydrophobic pocket to which the peptide is binding.

published proceedings

  • Biochemistry

author list (cited authors)

  • Ehrhardt, M. R., Erijman, L., Weber, G., & Wand, A. J.

citation count

  • 12

complete list of authors

  • Ehrhardt, MR||Erijman, L||Weber, G||Wand, AJ

publication date

  • February 1996