Calcium-free calmodulin is a substrate of proteases from human immunodeficiency viruses 1 and 2

Proteins. 1991;10(1):1-9. doi: 10.1002/prot.340100102.


Calcium-free calmodulin-(CaM) is rapidly hydrolyzed by proteases from both human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV) 1 and 2. Kinetic analysis reveals a sequential order of cleavage by both proteases which initiates in regions of the molecule known from X-ray crystallographic analysis of Ca2+/CaM to be associated with calcium binding. Although HIV-1 and HIV-2 proteases hydrolyze two bonds in common, the initial site of cleavage required for subsequent events differs in each case. The first bond hydrolyzed by the HIV-1 protease is the Asn-Tyr linkage in the sequence, -N-I-D-G-D-G-Q-V-N-Y-E-E-, found in the fourth calcium binding loop. In contrast, it is an Ala-Ala bond in the third calcium loop, -D-K-D-G-N-G-Y-I-S-A-A-E-, that is first hydrolyzed by the HIV-2 enzyme, followed in short order by cleavage of the same Asn-Tyr linkage described above. Thereafter, both enzymes proceed to hydrolyze additional peptide bonds, some in common, some not. Considerable evidence exists that inhibitors are bound to the protease in an extended conformation and yet all of the cleavages we observed occur within, or at the beginning of helices in Ca2+/CaM, regions that also appear to be insufficiently exposed for protease binding. Molecular modeling studies indicate that CaM in solution must adopt a conformation in which the first cleavage site observed for each enzyme is unshielded and extended, and that subsequent cleavages involve further unwinding of helices.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calmodulin / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • HIV Protease / metabolism*
  • Kinetics
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligopeptides / metabolism
  • Substrate Specificity


  • Calmodulin
  • Oligopeptides
  • Aspartic Acid Endopeptidases
  • HIV Protease
  • p16 protease, Human immunodeficiency virus 2
  • Calcium