Conformational Transitions of the Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Ca-ATPase Studied by Time-Resolved EPR and Quenched-Flow Kinetics

James E. Mahaney, David D. Thomas, Jeffrey P. Froehlich

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


We have used time-resolved electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) and quenched-flow kinetics in order to investigate the dynamics of Ca-ATPase conformational changes involved in Ca2+ pumping in sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) membranes at 2 °C. The Ca-ATPase was selectively labeled with an iodoacetamide spin label (IASL), which yields EPR spectra sensitive to enzyme conformational changes during ATP-induced enzymatic cycling. The addition of ATP, AMPPCP, CrATP, or ADP decreased the rotational mobility of a fraction of the probes, indicating a distinct protein conformational state corresponding to this probe population, while Pi under conditions producing “backdoor” phosphorylation produced no spectral change. Transient changes in the amplitude of the restricted component associated with the pre-steady state of Ca2+ pumping were detected with 10 ms time resolution after an [ATP] jump produced by laser flash photolysis of caged ATP in the EPR sample. The laser energy was adjusted to generate 100 μM ATP from 1 mM caged ATP. At 0.1 M KCl, the EPR transient consisted of a brief initial lag phase, a monoexponential phase with a rate of 20 s-1, and a decay back to the initial intensity after the ATP had been consumed. Raising [KCl] from 0.1 to 0.4 M slowed the rate of the exponential phase from 20 to 6 s-1. Lowering the pH from 7 to 6, which increased the rate of caged ATP photolysis, eliminated the lag but did not change the apparent rate of the EPR signal rise. Parallel acid quenchedflow experiments conducted at 0.1 M KCl and 100 μM ATP produced fast (50-58 s-1) and slow (20 s-1) phases of phosphoenzyme formation. Increasing [KCl] from 0.1 to 0.4 M decreased the rate of the slow phase of phosphorylation from 20 to 5 s-1, without affecting the fast phase. The close correlation between the slow phase of phosphorylation and the exponential phase of the EPR signal suggests that the spin probe monitors a conformational event associated with phosphoenzyme formation in a population of catalytic sites with delayed kinetics. We propose that this constraint is imposed by conformational coupling between the catalytic subunits in a Ca-ATPase oligomer and that, consequently, the EPR signal reflects changes in quaternary protein structure as well as changes in secondary and tertiary structure associated with ATP-dependent phosphorylation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4864-4879
Number of pages16
Issue number14
StatePublished - Apr 1 1995


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