Zn2+ binding to human calbindin D(28k) and the role of histidine residues.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


We have studied the binding of Zn2+ to the hexa EF-hand protein, calbindin D(28k)-a strong Ca2+-binder involved in apoptosis regulation-which is highly expressed in brain tissue. By use of radioblots, isothermal titration calorimetry, and competition with a fluorescent Zn2+ chelator, we find that calbindin D(28k) binds Zn2+ to three rather strong sites with dissociation constants in the low micromolar range. Furthermore, we conclude based on spectroscopic investigations that the Zn2+-bound state is structurally distinct from the Ca2+-bound state and that the two forms are incompatible, yielding negative allosteric interaction between the zinc- and calcium-binding events. ANS titrations reveal a change in hydrophobicity upon binding Zn2+. The binding of Zn2+ is compatible with the ability of calbindin to activate myo-inositol monophosphatase, one of the known targets of calbindin. Through site-directed mutagenesis, we address the role of cysteine and histidine residues in the binding of Zn2+. Mutation of all five cysteines into serines has no effect on Zn2+-binding affinity or stoichiometry. However, mutating histidine 80 into a glutamine reduces the binding affinity of the strongest Zn2+ site, indicating that this residue is involved in coordinating the Zn2+ ion in this site. Mutating histidines 5, 22, or 114 has significantly smaller effects on Zn2+-binding affinity.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Medicinal Chemistry


  • histidine, EF-hand, zinc, mutagenesis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)760-767
JournalProtein Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Publication categoryResearch