Fast methionine-based solution structure determination of calcium-calmodulin complexes

J Biomol NMR. 2011 May;50(1):71-81. doi: 10.1007/s10858-011-9495-3. Epub 2011 Mar 1.


Here we present a novel NMR method for the structure determination of calcium-calmodulin (Ca(2+)-CaM)-peptide complexes from a limited set of experimental restraints. A comparison of solved CaM-peptide structures reveals invariability in CaM's backbone conformation and a structural plasticity in CaM's domain orientation enabled by a flexible linker. Knowing this, the collection and analysis of an extensive set of NOESY spectra is redundant. Although RDCs can define CaM domain orientation in the complex, they lack the translational information required to position the domains on the bound peptide and highlight the necessity of intermolecular NOEs. Here we employ a specific isotope labeling strategy in which the role of methionine in CaM-peptide interactions is exploited to collect these critical NOEs. By (1)H, (13)C-labeling the methyl groups of deuterated methionine against a (2)H, (12)C background, we can acquire a (13)C-edited NOESY characterized by simplified, easily analyzable spectra. Together with measured CaM backbone H(N)-N RDCs and intrapeptide NOE-based distances, these intermolecular NOEs provide restraints for a low temperature torsion-angle dynamics and simulated annealing protocol used to calculate the complex structure. We have applied our method to a CaM complex previously solved through X-ray crystallography: Ca(2+)-CaM bound to the CaM kinase I peptide (PDB code: 1MXE). The resulting structure has a backbone RMSD of 1.6 Å to that previously published. We have also used this test complex to investigate the importance of homologous model selection on the calculated outcome. In addition to having application for fast complex structure determination, this method can be used to determine the structures of difficult complexes characterized by chemical shift overlap and broad signals for which the traditional method based on the use of fully (13)C, (15)N-labeled CaM fails.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Binding Sites
  • Calcium / chemistry
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calmodulin / chemistry*
  • Calmodulin / metabolism
  • Methionine / chemistry*
  • Methionine / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular / methods*
  • Peptide Fragments / chemistry
  • Peptide Fragments / metabolism
  • Protein Conformation
  • Solutions / chemistry


  • Calmodulin
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Solutions
  • Methionine
  • Calcium