Characterisation of two calmodulin-like proteins from the liver fluke, Fasciola hepatica

Biological Chemistry
Sean L RussellDavid J Timson


Calmodulin is a calcium ion-sensing signalling protein found in eukaryotics. Two calmodulin-like gene sequences were identified in an EST library from adult liver flukes. One codes for a protein (FhCaM1) homologous to mammalian calmodulins (98% identity), whereas the other protein (FhCaM2) has only 41% identity. These genes were cloned into expression vectors and the recombinant proteins were expressed in Escherichia coli. Gel shift assays showed that both proteins bind to calcium, magnesium and zinc ions. Homology models have been built for both proteins. As expected, FhCaM1 has a highly similar structure to other calmodulins. Although FhCaM2 has a similar fold, its surface charge is higher than FhCaM1. One of the potential metal ion-binding sites has lower metal-ion co-ordination capability, while another has an adjacent lysine residue, both of which may decrease the metal-binding affinity. These differences may reflect a specialised role for FhCaM2 in the liver fluke.


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