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The Impact of X-ray Crystallography and NMR on Intracellular Calcium Signal Transduction by EF-Hand Proteins: Crossing the Threshold from Structure to Biology and Medicine

The use of x-ray crystallography and solution nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy has revolutionized our understanding of the transduction of intracellular calcium signals into cellular responses. Indeed, the ability to cross a critical threshold from basic descriptive structural biochemistry to real-world applications in therapeutics and biotechnology now looms on the experimental horizon. The ~500 atomic resolution structures determined by x-ray and NMR approaches and deposited in the Protein Data Bank, many of which are of complexes of EF-hand proteins with peptide fragments of cellular targets, have yielded an extremely thorough description for how EF-hand proteins respond to the binding of calcium. Although this database of structures is a powerful structural tool to describe EF-hand protein function, it is limited in its ability to have a significant impact on biology and medicine because the structural effects on the downstream target are not determined. The opportunity that now lies before us is to extend this EF-hand–centric structural information so that the alterations in the target proteins are defined and the structural basis for functional consequences downstream is understood.

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Resource Type: Bibliography, Diagram, Illustration, Journal article/Issue, Review
Audience Level: Undergraduate upper division 15-16, Graduate, Professional (degree program)

Author and Copyright

Authors and Editors: Walter J. Chazin of Center for Structural Biology, Vanderbilt University
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Format: application/pdf, image/gif, image/jpeg, text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: Yes


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