Table of Contents
Journal of Biophysics
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 329703, 9 pages
Research Article

Effect of Calcium Ion Removal, Ionic Strength, and Temperature on the Conformation Change in Calmodulin Protein at Physiological pH

Cluster Innovation Centre (CIC), University of Delhi, Delhi 110007, India

Received 11 September 2014; Revised 11 November 2014; Accepted 13 November 2014; Published 9 December 2014

Academic Editor: Jianwei Shuai

Copyright © 2014 Sunita Negi. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The response of the calmodulin (CaM) protein as a function of calcium ion removal, ionic strength, and temperature at physiological pH condition was investigated using classical molecular dynamics simulations. Changing the ionic strength and temperature came out to be two of the possible routes for observing a conformation change in the protein. This behavior is similar to the conformation change observed in our previous study where a change in the pH was observed to trigger a conformation change in this protein. In the present study, as the calcium ions are removed from the protein, the protein is observed to acquire more flexibility. This flexibility is observed to be more prominent at a higher ionic strength. At a lower ionic strength of 150 mM with all the four calcium ions intact, the N- and C-lobes are observed to come close to a distance of 30 Å starting from an initial separation distance of 48 Å. This conformation change is observed to take place around 50 ns in a simulation of 100 ns. As a second parameter, temperature is observed to play a key role in the conformation change of the protein. With an increase in the temperature, the protein is observed to acquire a more compact form with the formation of different salt bridges between the residues of the N- and the C-lobes. The salt bridge formation leads to an overall lowering of the energy of the protein thus favoring the bending of the two lobes towards each other. The improper and dihedral terms show a significant shift thus leading to a more compact form on increasing the temperature. Another set of simulations is also performed at an increased temperature of 500 K to verify the reproducibility of the results. Thus a set of three possible alterations in the environmental conditions of the protein CaM are studied, with two of them giving rise to a conformation change and one adding flexibility to the protein.