This study characterizes the calcium-bound CR I-II domain (residues 1-100) of rat calretinin (CR). CR, with six EF-hand motifs, is believed to function as a neuronal intracellular calcium-buffer and/or calcium-sensor. The secondary structure of CR I-II, defined by standard NMR methods on 13C,15N-labeled protein, contains four helices and two short interacting segments of extended structure between the calcium-binding loops. The linker between the two helix-loop-helix, EF-hand motifs is 12 residues long. Limited trypsinolysis at K60 (there are 10 other K/R residues in CR I-II) confirms that the linker of CR I-II is solvent-exposed and that other potential sites are protected by regular secondary structure. 45Ca-overlay of glutathione S-transferase (GST)-CR(1-60) and GST-CR(61-100) fusion proteins confirm that both EF-hands of CR I-II have intrinsic calcium-binding properties. The primary sequence and NMR chemical shifts, including calcium-sensitive glycine residues, also suggest that both EF-hand loops of CR I-II bind calcium. NMR relaxation, analytical ultracentrifugation, chemical cross-linking and NMR translation diffusion measurements indicate that CR I-II exists as a monomer. Calb I-II (the homologous domain of calbindin D28k) has the same EF-hand secondary structures as CR I-II, except that helix B is three residues longer and the linker has only four residues [Klaus, W., Grzesiek, S., Labhardt, A. M., Buckwald, P., Hunziker, W., Gross, M. D. & Kallick, D. A. (1999) Eur. J. Biochem. 262, 933-938]. In contrast, Calb I-II binds one calcium cation per mono-meric unit and exists as a dimer. Despite close homology and similar secondary structures, CR I-II and Calb I-II probably have distinct tertiary structure features that suggest different cellular functions for the full-length proteins.
ASJC Scopus subject areas