Protein-protein docking and analysis reveal that two homologous bacterial adenylyl cyclase toxins interact with calmodulin differently

Qing Guo, Justin E. Jureller, Julia T. Warren, Elena Solomaha, Jan Florián, Wei Jen Tang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Calmodulin (CaM), a eukaryotic calcium sensor that regulates diverse biological activities, consists of N- and C-terminal globular domains (N-CaM and C-CaM, respectively). CaM serves as the activator of CyaA, a 188-kDa adenylyl cyclase toxin secreted by Bordetella pertussis, which is the etiologic agent for whooping cough. Upon insertion of the N-terminal adenylyl cyclase domain (ACD) of CyaA to its targeted eukaryotic cells, CaM binds to this domain tightly (∼200 pM affinity). This interaction activates the adenylyl cyclase activity of CyaA, leading to a rise in intracellular cAMP levels to disrupt normal cellular signaling. We recently solved the structure of CyaA-ACD in complex with C-CaM to elucidate the mechanism of catalytic activation. However, the structure of the interface between N-CaM and CyaA, the formation of which contributes a 400-fold increase of binding affinity between CyaA and CaM, remains elusive. Here, we used site-directed mutations and molecular dynamic simulations to generate several working models of CaM-bound CyaA-ACD. The validity of these models was evaluated by disulfide bond cross-linking, point mutations, and fluorescence resonance energy transfer experiments. Our study reveals that a β-hairpin region (amino acids 259-273) of CyaA-ACD likely makes contacts with the second calcium binding motif of the extended CaM. This mode of interaction differs from the interaction of N-CaM with anthrax edema factor, which binds N-CaM via its helical domain. Thus, two structurally conserved, bacterial adenylyl cyclase toxins have evolved to utilize distinct binding surfaces and modes of activation in their interaction with CaM, a highly conserved eukaryotic signaling protein.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23836-23845
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number35
StatePublished - Aug 29 2008


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