Regulation of K-Ras4B Membrane Binding by Calmodulin

Biophys J. 2016 Jul 12;111(1):113-22. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2016.05.042.


K-Ras4B is a membrane-bound small GTPase with a prominent role in cancer development. It contains a polybasic farnesylated C-terminus that is required for the correct localization and clustering of K-Ras4B in distinct membrane domains. PDEδ and the Ca(2+)-binding protein calmodulin (CaM) are known to function as potential binding partners for farnesylated Ras proteins. However, they differ in the number of interaction sites with K-Ras4B, leading to different modes of interaction, and thus affect the subcellular distribution of K-Ras4B in different ways. Although it is clear that Ca(2+)-bound CaM can play a role in the dynamic spatial cycle of K-Ras4B in the cell, the exact molecular mechanism is only partially understood. In this biophysical study, we investigated the effect of Ca(2+)/CaM on the interaction of GDP- and GTP-loaded K-Ras4B with heterogeneous model biomembranes by using a combination of different spectroscopic and imaging techniques. The results show that Ca(2+)/CaM is able to extract K-Ras4B from negatively charged membranes in a nucleotide-independent manner. Moreover, the data demonstrate that the complex of Ca(2+)/CaM and K-Ras4B is stable in the presence of anionic membranes and shows no membrane binding. Finally, the influence of Ca(2+)/CaM on the interaction of K-Ras4B with membranes is compared with that of PDEδ, which was investigated in a previous study. Although both CaM and PDEδ exhibit a hydrophobic binding pocket for farnesyl, they have different effects on membrane binding of K-Ras4B and hence should be capable of regulating K-Ras4B plasma membrane localization in the cell.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Calmodulin / metabolism*
  • Cell Membrane / metabolism*
  • Models, Molecular
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Conformation
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / chemistry
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras) / metabolism*


  • Calmodulin
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins p21(ras)