Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 20923661
Biophys. J. 2010 Oct;99(7):2264-72
Calmodulin (CaM) is a remarkably flexible protein which can bind multiple targets in response to changes in intracellular calcium concentration. It contains four calcium-binding sites, arranged in two globular domains. The calcium affinity of CaM N-terminal domain (N-CaM) is dramatically reduced when the complex with the edema factor (EF) of Bacillus anthracis is formed. Here, an atomic explanation for this reduced affinity is proposed through molecular dynamics simulations and free energy perturbation calculations of the EF-CaM complex starting from different crystallographic models. The simulations show that electrostatic interactions between CaM and EF disfavor the opening of N-CaM domains usually induced by calcium binding. Relative calcium affinities of the N-CaM binding sites are probed by free energy perturbation, and dissociation probabilities are evaluated with locally enhanced sampling simulations. We show that EF impairs calcium binding on N-CaM through a direct conformational restraint on Site 1, by an indirect destabilization of Site 2, and by reducing the cooperativity between the two sites.