Protein flexibility is key to cisplatin crosslinking in calmodulin

Huilin Li, Stephen A. Wells, J.E. Jimenez-Roldan, R.A. Römer, Yao Zhao, P.J. Sadler, P.B. O'Connor

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35 Citations (SciVal)


Chemical crosslinking in combination with Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance mass spectrometry (FTICR MS) has significant potential for studying protein structures and protein-protein interactions. Previously, cisplatin has been shown to be a crosslinker and crosslinks multiple methionine (Met) residues in apo-calmodulin (apo-CaM). However, the inter-residue distances obtained from nuclear magnetic resonance structures are inconsistent with the measured distance constraints by crosslinking. Met residues lie too far apart to be crosslinked by cisplatin. Here, by combining FTICR MS with a novel computational flexibility analysis, the flexible nature of the CaM structure is found to be key to cisplatin crosslinking in CaM. It is found that the side chains of Met residues can be brought together by flexible motions in both apo-CaM and calcium-bound CaM (Ca -CaM). The possibility of cisplatin crosslinking Ca -CaM is then confirmed by MS data. Therefore, flexibility analysis as a fast and low-cost computational method can be a useful tool for predicting crosslinking pairs in protein crosslinking analysis and facilitating MS data analysis. Finally, flexibility analysis also indicates that the crosslinking of platinum to pairs of Met residues will effectively close the nonpolar groove and thus will likely interfere with the binding of CaM to its protein targets, as was proved by comparing assays for cisplatin-modified/ unmodified CaM binding to melittin. Collectively, these results suggest that cisplatin crosslinking of apo-CaM or Ca -CaM can inhibit the ability of CaM to recognize its target proteins, which may have important implications for understanding the mechanism of tumor resistance to platinum anticancer drugs. Published by Wiley-Blackwell.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1269-1279
Number of pages11
JournalProtein Science
Issue number9
Early online date10 Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012


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