Elucidation of pK(a) values for Ca2+ binding sites in calmodulin by spectrofluorometry
Calmodulin (CaM) was purified from bovine brain and identified on the basis of its phosphodiesterase activity. Its purity was further tested by electrophoretic migration in polyacrylamide gels in the presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate. Apo-CaM was prepared from holo-CaM using hydroxyapatite chromatography. The Ca2+ binding sites on CaM and the pK(a) of each of the functional groups bound to Ca2+ were identified from the dependence of Ca2+ interaction with the functional group as a function of pH. EGTA was found to diminish the peaks corresponding to the pK(a) values of the groups bound to Ca2+. The use of bromophenacyl bromide, a modifier for aspartate and glutamate residues in proteins, diminished the peaks at pH = 3.4 and 4.3. Diethyl pyrocarbonate, a modifier for histidine residues, reduced the peak at pH = 6.2, corresponding to the pK(a) of the imidazole group in histidine. Furthermore, the peak at pH = 11.6 was eliminated using the specific tyrosine modifier, N-acetylimidazole. Diethylpyrocarbonate also eliminated four small peaks at pH = 7.2, 7.8, 8.2 and 8.8. This effect could be attributed to the binding of threonine and serine residues. The crystallographic results for parvalbumin, which has a similar molecular structure, suggest identical Ca2+ binding sites.