Plasma membrane Ca2+-ATPase (PMCA) transports Ca2+ by a reaction cycle including phosphorylated intermediates. Calmodulin binding to the C-terminal tail disrupts autoinhibitory interactions, activating the pump. To assess the conformational changes during the reaction cycle, we studied the structure of different PMCA states using a fluorescent probe, hydrophobic photolabeling, controlled proteolysis and Ca2+-ATPase activity. Our results show that calmodulin binds to E2P-like states, and during dephosphorylation, the hydrophobicity in the nucleotide-binding pocket decreases and the Ca2+ binding site becomes inaccessible to the extracellular medium. Autoinhibitory interactions are disrupted in E1Ca and in the E2P ground state whereas they are stabilized in the E2·Pi product state. Finally, we propose a model that describes the conformational changes during the Ca2+ transport of PMCA.

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