Calcium-dependent metabolic regulations in prokaryotes indicate conserved nature of calmodulin gene

L. K. Sengupta, B. B. Singh, Rashmi Mishra, P. K. Pandey, S. Singh, Susmita Sengupta, P. S. Bisen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Role of free calcium and calcium binding protein calmodulm as signal molecule in cellular regulation is well established in eukaryotes . However , reports on Ca2+ dependent processes and their inhibition by calcium and/or calmodulin antagonists indicate towards the presence of calmodulin in prokaryotes as well. The common evolutionary origin of pro- and eukaryotes and many examples of evolutionary conservation of structure and functions support the contention of such conservation of the role of Ca2+ and calmodulin. Eukaryotic calmodulin (CaM) contains four structurally and functionally similar Ca2+ domains named I ,II,III and IV. Each Ca2+ binding loop consists of 12 amino acid residues with ligands arranged spatially to satisfy the octahedral symmetry of Ca2+ binding . Plant calmodulin differ from vertebrate ones in 13 to 14 amino acid positions of which nine occur at -COOH- terminal half. Differences between protozoan and mammalian CaM also occur mostly in the same half. Isolation and characterization , although to a little extent, of CaM-like proteins from bacteria and cyanobacteria and their comparison with CaMs from diverse origin suggest high degree of conservation. Non-bulky amino acids like glycine , alanine and serine with low specific rotation are present in greater number in the primitive form of calmodulin and have been significantly reduced in highly evolved form of calmodulin, suggesting that their requirement was insignificant and were eliminated from EF hand structure during evolution . However , amino acids like glutamate /glutamine and aspartate / asparagine were highly conserved and did not show any major change in their frequency since their positions are too significant in calcium binding domain. While the number of positively charged amino acids like arginine and leucine was increased , histidine containing weakly ionized group and having a significant buffering capacity was reduced to a major extent , further suggesting that the acidic nature of calmodulin protein has been maintained during evolution . Thus it is now clear that the entire superfamily of Ca2+ binding proteins have arisen from a common genetic ancestry . Two successive tandem duplications of gene encoding a single domain containing protein of 30-40 residues gave rise to a four domain molecule from which this family was then derived.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)136-147
Number of pages12
JournalIndian Journal of Experimental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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