A mutually-induced conformational fit underlies Ca-directed interactions between calmodulin and the proximal C terminus of KCNQ4 K channels.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Biol Chem (2019)


<p>Calmodulin (CaM) conveys intracellular Ca signals to KCNQ (Kv7, &quot;M-type&quot;) K channels and many other ion channels. Whether this &quot;calmodulation&quot; involves a dramatic structural rearrangement or only slight perturbations of the CaM-KCNQ complex is as yet unclear. A consensus structural model of conformational shifts occurring between low-nM to physiologically high intracellular [Ca] is still under debate.&nbsp; Here, we used various techniques of biophysical chemical analyses to investigate the interactions between CaM and synthetic peptides corresponding to the A and B domains of the KCNQ4 subtype. We found that in the absence of CaM, the peptides are disordered, whereas Ca/CaM imposed helical structure on both KCNQ A and B domains. Isothermal titration calorimetry revealed that Ca/CaM has higher affinity for the B domain than for the A domain of KCNQ2-4 and much higher affinity for the B domain when prebound with the A domain. X-ray crystallography confirmed these discrete peptides spontaneously bind Ca/CaM, similar to previous reports of CaM binding KCNQ-AB domains that are linked together.&nbsp; Microscale thermophoresis and HSQC-NMR indicated the C-lobe of Ca-free CaM to interact with the KCNQ4 B domain (K ~10-20 &micro;M), with increasing Ca molar ratios shifting the CaM-B domain interactions via only the CaM C-lobe to also include the N-lobe. Our findings suggest that in response to increased Ca, CaM undergoes lobe-switching that imposes a dramatic mutually induced conformational fit to both the proximal C-terminus of KCNQ4 channels and CaM, likely underlying Ca-dependent regulation of KCNQ gating.</p>