Conformation and free energy analyses of the complex of calcium-bound calmodulin and the Fas death domain

Academic Article


  • Previous studies have demonstrated a calcium-dependent interaction of calmodulin (CaM) and Fas that is regulated during Fas-induced apoptosis in several cell lines, including cholangiocarcinoma, Jurkat cells, and osteoclasts. The binding of CaM and Fas has been identified on residues 231-254 of Fas; the V254N point mutation decreases the CaM/Fas binding, and the C-terminal deletion mutation increases the CaM/Fas binding. Recent studies have shown that CaM is recruited into the Fas-mediated death-inducing signaling complex (DISC) in a calcium-dependent manner. However, the molecular mechanisms whereby Fas mutations and CaM/Fas binding might regulate Fas-mediated DISC formation are unknown. In this study we investigated the binding thermodynamics and conformation of the CaM/Fas complexes with combined explicit solvent molecular-dynamics simulations and implicit solvent binding free-energy calculations. The binding free-energy analysis demonstrated that the Fas V254N point mutation reduced its binding affinity with CaM. In contrast, the Fas mutant with the deletion of the 15 amino acid at the C-terminus increased its binding to CaM. These observations are consistent with previous findings from biochemical studies. Conformational analyses further showed that the Fas V254N mutation resulted in an unstable conformation, whereas the C-terminal deletion mutation stabilized the Fas conformation, and both mutations resulted in changes of the degree of correlation between the motions of the residues in Fas. Analysis of the CaM/Fas complex revealed that CaM/Fas binding stabilized the conformation of both CaM and Fas and changed the degree of correlated motion of the residues of CaM and Fas. The results presented here provide structural evidence for the roles of Fas mutations and CaM/Fas binding in Fas-induced DISC formation. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of CaM/Fas binding in Fas-mediated DISC formation should provide important insights into the function of Fas mutations and CaM in regulating Fas-mediated apoptosis. © 2008 by the Biophysical Society.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Suever JD; Chen Y; McDonald JM; Song Y
  • Start Page

  • 5913
  • End Page

  • 5921
  • Volume

  • 95
  • Issue

  • 12