Structural And Functional Characterization Of Calcium-Dependent Protein Kinase (CaCDPK1) From Cicer Arietinum : Effects Of Autophosphorylation And Membrane Phospholipids
Dixit, Ajay Kumar
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In plants, calcium is a ubiquitous signaling molecule and changes in cytosolic calcium levels reported in response to various abiotic and biotic stresses like salt stress, drought, pathogen attack and phytohormone signaling. Any calcium- mediated signal transduction process involves the establishment of a signal-specific change in the cytosolic calcium concentration termed as ‗calcium signature‘ which is decoded by the specific group of proteins called ‗calcium sensors‘ (eg: Calmodulin (CaM) and Ca2+ - regulated kinases). Plants have a novel group of kinases designated as Ca2+- dependent protein kinases (CDPK; EC 126.96.36.199). CDPKs are biochemically distinct from other Ca2+- dependent kinases, such as Ca2+- and phospholipid- dependent protein kinases, as they are activated directly by Ca2+-and are independent of CaM. They exist as monomeric serine/threonine protein kinases and consist of four domains namely an amino-terminal variable domain, a kinase domain, an autoinhibitory domain and a calmodulin-like domain (CaM-LD). CDPKs represent a unique class of Ca2+ sensors, having protein kinase as well as CaM-LD in a single polypeptide chain, enabling them to couple the calcium sensor directly to its responder (kinase). In the absence of calcium signature, CDPKs activity is inhibited by the autoinhibitory domain, which acts as a pseudo-substrate of kinase domain and thus blocks the active site of the enzyme. In the presence of calcium signature, CDPKs undergo conformational changes leading to removal of the inhibition. Besides plants, CDPKs are also reported in few protozoans viz Plasmodium falciparam, Paramecium and Taxoplasma. However, CDPKs are not found in the eukaryotic genome of yeast, nematodes, fruitflies and humans. In the current study, we have cloned CDPK1 gene from Cicer arietinum (CaCDPK1) in pRSET-A expression vector and expressed it in Escherichia coli BL21pLysS strain. However, while expressing the recombinant CaCDPK1 in E.coli, most of the recombinant CaCDPK1 protein was expressed as insoluble form. Therefore, we focused our efforts on optimizing the culture conditions for achieving the maximum yield of soluble recombinant CaCDPK1. Expression of the soluble CaCDPK1 was achieved by optimizing the different conditions like IPTG concentrations, temperature and growth time after induction. Maximum amount of soluble expression of recombinant CaCDPK1 was achieved by inducing the bacterial culture with 0.1 mM IPTG at 0.6 OD and growing it further for 4 h at 25°C. As with several other CDPKs, CaCDPK1 was found to get autophosphorylated in a calcium-dependent manner. To find the significance of autophosphorylation, we measured the substrate phosphorylation activity of the native and autophosphorylated CaCDPK1, which revealed that the autophosphorylation enhances the kinase activity of CaCDPK1 by 2-fold. Autophosphorylation was linearly dependant on concentrations of the enzyme suggesting that the autophosphorylation in CaCDPK1 occurs via an intra-molecular mechanism. Further analysis of autophosphorylation shows that autophosphorylation happens before substrate phosphorylation and provides calcium -independent substrate phosphorylation property. It also reduces the lag phase for activation of the enzyme and utilizes both ATP and GTP as phosphor-donor, but ATP is preferred over GTP. Autophosphorylation was found to occur at serine and threonine residues. The MALDI MS/MS analysis of the cold ATP autophosphorylated CaCDPK1 showed Thr- 339, Ser- 357, and Ser- 367 residues could be the potential autophosphorylation sites in CaCDPK1. Phospholipids, the major structural components of membranes, can also have functions in regulating signaling pathways in plants under biotic and abiotic stress conditions. The effects of adding phospholipids on the activity of stress-induced calcium dependent protein kinase (CaCDPK1) from chickpea are reported in this study. Both autophosphorylation as well as phosphorylation of the added substrate were enhanced specifically by phosphatidylcholine and to a lesser extent by phosphatidic acid, but not by phosphatidylethanolamine. Diacylgylerol, the neutral lipid known to activate mammalian PKC, stimulated CaCDPK1 but at higher concentrations. Increase in Vmax of the enzyme activity by these phospholipids significantly decreased the Km indicating that phospholipids enhance the affinity towards its substrate. In the absence of calcium, addition of phospholipids had no effect on the negligible activity of the enzyme. Intrinsic fluorescence intensity of the CaCDPK1 protein was quenched on adding PA and PC. Higher binding affinity was found with PC (K½ = 1.3 nM) when compared to PA (K½ = 56 nM). We also found that the concentration of PA increased in chickpea plants under salt stress. The stimulation by PA and PC suggests regulation of CaCDPK1 by these phospholipids during stress response. In the current study we also investigated CaCDPK1 interactions with calcium ions to address the Ca2+ -induced conformational changes in CaCDPK1 by using circular dichroism (CD), fluorescence spectroscopy and isothermal titration (ITC). Isothermal calorimetric analysis of calcium binding to CaCDPK1 shows a biphasic curve with two Kd of 27 nM and 1.72 µM respectively. The fluorescence measurements showed quenching in fluorescence intensity with a 5 nm red shift. The plot of changes in intensity against calcium concentrations again showed a biphasic curve, indicating that there may be more than one kind of Ca2+ binding sites. 8-anilinonaphthalene-1-sulfonic acid (ANS) binding showed that calcium bound form of CaCDPK1 exposes hydrophobic surfaces which may act as binding sites for other proteins. CD analysis of CaCDPK1 showed that it‘s an alpha helical rich protein and its helical content increases after binding to calcium. Taken all together this study describes the successful heterologous expression of Cicer arietinum CDPK isoform 1 in E.coli. and demonstrates that the autophoshorylation happens via an intra-molecular mechanism and it increases the kinase activity of CaCDPK1 at least by 2-fold. We also report here that CaCDPK1 prefers ATP as phosphodonor over GTP. The present study also shows the activation of CaCDPK1 by PC and PA, but not by PE or diacylglycerol. Both phospholipids were able to bind to CaCDPK1 and increased its Vmax and affinity towards the exogenous substrate, histone III-S. The current study also shows that calicum binding induces conformational changes in CaCDPK1 and the all four EF hand motifs of CaCDPK1 do not function in an equivalent manner.
- Biochemistry (BC) 
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