Molecular dynamics studies on conformational thermodynamics of Orai1–calmodulin complex

<p>Molecular understanding of bio-macromolecular binding is a challenging task due to large sizes of the molecules and presence of variety of interactions. Here, we study the molecular mechanism of calmodulin (CaM) binding to Orai1 that regulates Ca<sup>2+</sup>-dependent inactivation process in eukaryotic cells. Although experimental observations indicate that Orai1 binds to the C-terminal of Ca<sup>2+</sup>-loaded CaM, it is not decisive if N-domain of CaM interacts with Orai1. We address the issue of interaction of different domains of CaM with Orai1 using conformational thermodynamic changes, computed from histograms of dihedral angles over simulated trajectories of CaM, CaM-binding domain of Orai1 and complexes of CaM with Orai1. The changes for all residues of both C and N terminal domains of CaM upon Orai1 binding are compared. Our analysis shows that Orai1binds to both C-terminal and N-terminal domains of CaM, indicating 1:2 stoichiometry. The Orai1 binding to N-terminal domain of CaM is less stable than that to the C-terminal domain. The binding residues are primarily hydrophobic. These observations are in qualitative agreement to the experiments. The conformational thermodynamic changes thus provide a useful computational tool to provide atomic details of interactions in bio-macromolecular binding.</p>