Structures of the excited states of phospholamban and shifts in their populations upon phosphorylation

Biochemistry. 2013 Sep 24;52(38):6684-94. doi: 10.1021/bi400517b. Epub 2013 Sep 11.


Phospholamban is an integral membrane protein that controls the calcium balance in cardiac muscle cells. As the function and regulation of this protein require the active involvement of low populated states in equilibrium with the native state, it is of great interest to acquire structural information about them. In this work, we calculate the conformations and populations of the ground state and the three main excited states of phospholamban by incorporating nuclear magnetic resonance residual dipolar couplings as replica-averaged structural restraints in molecular dynamics simulations. We then provide a description of the manner in which phosphorylation at Ser16 modulates the activity of the protein by increasing the sizes of the populations of its excited states. These results demonstrate that the approach that we describe provides a detailed characterization of the different states of phospholamban that determine the function and regulation of this membrane protein. We anticipate that the knowledge of conformational ensembles enable the design of new dominant negative mutants of phospholamban by modulating the relative populations of its conformational substates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / chemistry*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Humans
  • Models, Molecular
  • Molecular Dynamics Simulation
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular / methods
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Conformation
  • Serine / metabolism


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • phospholamban
  • Serine