Calmodulin binds to maize lipid transfer protein and modulates its lipids binding ability

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Although plant non-specific lipid transfer proteins (ns-LTPs) are characterized by their ability to bind and transfer a broad range of hydrophobic ligands in vitro, their biological functions in vivo remain unclear. Recently, it has been proposed that ns-LTPs may play a key role in plant defense mechanisms, particularly during the induction of systemic acquired resistance, however, very little is known about the regulation in this process. We report that the binding of maize non-specific lipid transfer protein (Zm-LTP) to calmodulin (CaM) is in a calcium-independent manner. To better understand the interaction mechanism between Zm-LTP and CaM, the CaM-binding site of Zm-LTP was mapped to the region of amino acids 46–60. Point mutations indicate that four amino acid residues, R46, R47, K54 and R58, in this region are crucial for binding. Furthermore, we tested the effects of CaM on the lipid-binding activity of Zm-LTP in the presence of Ca2+, EGTA, N-(6-aminohexyl)-5-chloro-1-naphthalene sulfonamide and trifluoperazine respectively. We also investigated the structural features of CaM-binding motifs in LTPs from different species and strong differences were observed. Taken together, our results suggest that the interaction with CaM could be a common feature of plant LTPs. The identification and characterization of CaM-binding domain of LTPs should provide new insights into the mechanism by which the physiological functions of LTPs are regulated.

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