Crystal structures of progressive Ca2+ binding states of the Ca2+ sensor Ca2+ binding domain 1 (CBD1) from the CALX Na+/Ca2+ exchanger reveal incremental conformational transitions.

Publication Date



J Biol Chem. 2010 January 22; 285(4): 2554–2561.


Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchangers (NCX) constitute a major Ca(2+) export system that facilitates the re-establishment of cytosolic Ca(2+) levels in many tissues. Ca(2+) interactions at its Ca(2+) binding domains (CBD1 and CBD2) are essential for the allosteric regulation of Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchange activity. The structure of the Ca(2+)-bound form of CBD1, the primary Ca(2+) sensor from canine NCX1, but not the Ca(2+)-free form, has been reported, although the molecular mechanism of Ca(2+) regulation remains unclear. Here, we report crystal structures for three distinct Ca(2+) binding states of CBD1 from CALX, a Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger found in Drosophila sensory neurons. The fully Ca(2+)-bound CALX-CBD1 structure shows that four Ca(2+) atoms bind at identical Ca(2+) binding sites as those found in NCX1 and that the partial Ca(2+) occupancy and apoform structures exhibit progressive conformational transitions, indicating incremental regulation of CALX exchange by successive Ca(2+) binding at CBD1. The structures also predict that the primary Ca(2+) pair plays the main role in triggering functional conformational changes. Confirming this prediction, mutagenesis of Glu(455), which coordinates the primary Ca(2+) pair, produces dramatic reductions of the regulatory Ca(2+) affinity for exchange current, whereas mutagenesis of Glu(520), which coordinates the secondary Ca(2+) pair, has much smaller effects. Furthermore, our structures indicate that Ca(2+) binding only enhances the stability of the Ca(2+) binding site of CBD1 near the hinge region while the overall structure of CBD1 remains largely unaffected, implying that the Ca(2+) regulatory function of CBD1, and possibly that for the entire NCX family, is mediated through domain interactions between CBD1 and the adjacent CBD2 at this hinge.


Animals, Antiporters, Binding Sites, Calcium, Crystallography, Drosophila, Drosophila Proteins, Membrane Proteins, Mutagenesis, Site-Directed, Patch-Clamp Techniques, Protein Interaction Domains and Motifs, Protein Structure, Secondary, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Sensory Receptor Cells, Sodium