Resolving the fast kinetics of cooperative binding: Ca²⁺ buffering by calretinin
In: PLoS Biology, 2007/5/11/e311 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050311
Cooperativity is one of the most important properties of molecular interactions in biological systems. It is the ability to influence ligand binding at one site of a macromolecule by previous ligand binding at another site of the same molecule. As a consequence, the affinity of the macromolecule for the ligand is either decreased (negative cooperativity) or increased (positive cooperativity).... MoreAdd to personal list
- Cooperativity is one of the most important properties of molecular interactions in biological systems. It is the ability to influence ligand binding at one site of a macromolecule by previous ligand binding at another site of the same molecule. As a consequence, the affinity of the macromolecule for the ligand is either decreased (negative cooperativity) or increased (positive cooperativity). Over the last 100 years, O₂ binding to hemoglobin has served as the paradigm for cooperative ligand binding and allosteric modulation, and four practical models were developed to quantitatively describe the mechanism: the Hill, the Adair-Klotz, the Monod-Wyman-Changeux, and the Koshland-Némethy-Filmer models. The predictions of these models apply under static conditions when the binding reactions are at equilibrium. However, in a physiological setting, e.g., inside a cell, the timing and dynamics of the binding events are essential. Hence, it is necessary to determine the dynamic properties of cooperative binding to fully understand the physiological implications of cooperativity. To date, the Monod-Wyman-Changeux model was applied to determine the kinetics of cooperative binding to biologically active molecules. In this model, cooperativity is established by postulating two allosteric isoforms with different binding properties. However, these studies were limited to special cases, where transition rates between allosteric isoforms are much slower than the binding rates or where binding and unbinding rates could be measured independently. For all other cases, the complex mathematical description precludes straightforward interpretations. Here, we report on calculating for the first time the fast dynamics of a cooperative binding process, the binding of Ca²⁺ to calretinin. Calretinin is a Ca²⁺-binding protein with four cooperative binding sites and one independent binding site. The Ca²⁺ binding to calretinin was assessed by measuring the decay of free Ca²⁺ using a fast fluorescent Ca²⁺ indicator following rapid (<50-μs rise time) Ca²⁺ concentration jumps induced by uncaging Ca²⁺ from DM-nitrophen. To unravel the kinetics of cooperative binding, we devised several approaches based on known cooperative binding models, resulting in a novel and relatively simple model. This model revealed unexpected and highly specific nonlinear properties of cellular Ca²⁺ regulation by calretinin. The association rate of Ca²⁺ with calretinin speeds up as the free Ca²⁺ concentration increases from cytoplasmic resting conditions (∼100 nM) to approximately 1 μM. As a consequence, the Ca²⁺ buffering speed of calretinin highly depends on the prevailing Ca²⁺ concentration prior to a perturbation. In addition to providing a novel mode of action of cellular Ca²⁺ buffering, our model extends the analysis of cooperativity beyond the static steady-state condition, providing a powerful tool for the investigation of the dynamics and functional significance of cooperative binding in general.