alexa Biophysical investigation of retinal calcium sensor function.
Microbiology

Microbiology

Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals

Author(s): Koch KW

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Abstract BACKGROUND: Neuronal calcium sensor proteins represent a subgroup of the family of EF-hand calcium binding proteins. Members of this subgroup are the guanylate cyclase-activating proteins and recoverin, which operate as important calcium sensors in retinal photoreceptor cells. Physiological and biochemical data indicate that these proteins participate in shaping the photoreceptor light response. SCOPE OF REVIEW: Biophysical methods have been widely applied to investigate the molecular properties of retinal calcium binding proteins like the guanylate cyclase-activating proteins and recoverin. Properties include the determination of calcium affinities by isotope techniques and spectroscopical approaches. Conformational changes are investigated for example by tryptophan fluorescence emission. A special focus of this review is laid on a new experimental approach to study conformational changes in calcium binding proteins by surface plasmon resonance spectroscopy. In addition this technique has been employed for measuring the calcium-dependent binding of calcium sensors to membranes. MAJOR CONCLUSIONS: Biophysical approaches provide valuable information about key properties of calcium sensor proteins involved in intracellular signalling. Parameters of their molecular properties like calcium binding and conformational changes help to define their physiological role derived from cellular, genetic or physiological studies. GENERAL SIGNIFICANCE: Calcium is an important second messenger in intracellular signaling. Calcium signals are propagated via calcium binding proteins that are able to discriminate between incremental differences in intracellular calcium and that regulate their targets with high precision and specificity. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Biochemical, biophysical and genetic approaches to intracellular calcium signalling. Copyright © 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. This article was published in Biochim Biophys Acta and referenced in Journal of Antivirals & Antiretrovirals

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