Calmodulin Interacts and Regulates Enzyme Activity of the Mammalian Sperm Phospholipase C
L. Calver, Brian
Lai, F. Anthony
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Sperm-specific Phospholipase C zeta (PLCζ) is widely considered to be the sole, physiological stimulus responsible for the generation of Ca2+ oscillations that induce egg activation and early embryo development during mammalian fertilization. PLCζ, which is delivered from the fertilizing sperm into the egg cytoplasm, catalyzes the hydrolysis of its membrane-bound phospholipid substrate phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate [PI(4,5)P2], triggering the cytoplasmic Ca2+ oscillations through the inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (InsP3) signaling pathway. Despite the recent advances the detailed regulatory mechanism of PLCζ is still unclear, as binding partners of this protein within the sperm or the fertilizing egg have not yet been identified. Calmodulin (CaM) is a ubiquitous Ca2+ sensor in eukaryotic cells. A previous study has reported that CaM directly interacts and regulates the activity of PLC delta 1 protein, a somatic PLC isoform with structural similarities to sperm PLCζ. Bioinformatics analysis revealed putative CaM-binding sites on PLCζ sequence. In the present study, we have used co-immunoprecipitation analysis and we show that in the presence of Ca2+, human PLCζ directly interacts with CaM. Isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) experiments were performed to map the interaction. Three different peptides corresponding to disparate sequences within human PLCζ were used and it was shown that PLCζ interacts with CaM via one region of the molecule. In addition, recombinant proteins corresponding to the N- and C-lobe of human CaM were used for ITC experiments, which revealed that CaM interacts with PLCζ in the presence of Ca2+, only through one of its lobe domains. In vitro PIP2 hydrolysis assays revealed that CaM alters PLCζ PIP2 hydrolytic activity at high Ca2+ concentrations and, as suggested by liposome binding assays, this appears to be due to CaM binding to PLCζ affecting proper access of the enzyme active site to its substrate PI(4,5)P2.
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