Calpactins I and II are proteins that bind Ca2+, phospholipids, actin and spectrin; they are also major substrates of oncogene and growth-factor-receptor tyrosine kinases. Since calpactins have been proposed to provide a link between membrane lipids and the cytoskeleton, we examined in detail the interactions between purified calpactin I and phospholipid liposomes. We focused on the Ca2+-dependence, the effects of phosphorylation of calpactin I by p60v-src (the protein kinase coded for by the Rous-sarcoma-virus oncogene), and the effects of the binding of calpactin I light chain to calpactin I heavy chain. Binding of the light chain to the heavy chain increased the affinity of calpactin I for phosphatidylserine (PS) liposomes. The opposite effect was observed for phosphorylation by p60v-src; phosphorylation decreased the affinity of calpactin I for PS liposomes. These two opposite effects appeared to be independent, since phosphorylation did not prevent light-chain binding to the heavy chain. Calpactin I was found, by the use of three different techniques, to bind to phospholipid liposomes at less than 10(-8) M free Ca2+. This result is in contrast with those of previous studies, which indicated that greater than 10(-6) M free Ca2+ was required. Our findings suggest that calpactin I may be bound to phospholipids in vivo at Ca2+ concentrations of about 1.5 x 10(-7) M, typical of resting unstimulated cells, and that this interaction may be modulated by light-chain binding and phosphorylation by p60v-src.

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