Evolution of EF-hand Calcium-Modulated Proteins. I. Relationships Based on Amino Acid Sequences

J Mol Evol. 1990 Jun;30(6):522-62. doi: 10.1007/BF02101108.


The relationships among 153 EF-hand (calcium-modulated) proteins of known amino acid sequence were determined using the method of maximum parsimony. These proteins can be ordered into 12 distinct subfamilies--calmodulin, troponin C, essential light chain of myosin, regulatory light chain, sarcoplasmic calcium binding protein, calpain, aequorin, Stronglyocentrotus purpuratus ectodermal protein, calbindin 28 kd, parvalbumin, alpha-actinin, and S100/intestinal calcium-binding protein. Eight individual proteins--calcineurin B from Bos, troponin C from Astacus, calcium vector protein from Branchiostoma, caltractin from Chlamydomonas, cell-division-cycle 31 gene product from Saccharomyces, 10-kd calcium-binding protein from Tetrahymena, LPS1 eight-domain protein from Lytechinus, and calcium-binding protein from Streptomyces--are tentatively identified as unique; that is, each may be the sole representative of another subfamily. We present dendrograms showing the relationships among the subfamilies and uniques as well as dendrograms showing relationships within each subfamily. The EF-hand proteins have been characterized from a broad range of organismal sources, and they have an enormous range of function. This is reflected in the complexity of the dendrograms. At this time we urge caution in assigning a simple scheme of gene duplications to account for the evolution of the 600 EF-hand domains of known sequence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Calbindins
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Calmodulin / genetics
  • Calpain / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Myosins / genetics
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Phylogeny
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Troponin / genetics
  • Troponin C


  • Calbindins
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Calmodulin
  • S100 Calcium Binding Protein G
  • Troponin
  • Troponin C
  • Calpain
  • Myosins