Calmodulin is the name proposed for a multifunctional, calcium binding protein whose presence has been detected in a number of eukaryotic cells. In the studies summarized here, calmodulin has been isolated from spinach leaves (Spinacea oleracea), characterized, and compared to vertebrate calmodulins. Quantitative recovery data for a rapidisolation protocol demonstrate that calmodulin is a major constituent of spinach leaves. Spinach calmodulin is indistinguishable from vertebrate calmodulins in phosphodiesterase activator activity using vertebrate brain phosphodiesterase and in quantitative immunoreactivity using antiserum made against vertebrate calmodulin. However, spinach calmodulin is readily distinguished from vertebrate and invertebrate calmodulins in electrophoretic mobility and in amino acid composition. Spinach calmodulin, like vertebrate calmodulins, lacks tryptophan and contains 1 mol each of Nʹ-trimethyllysine and histidine per 17 000 g of protein. In contrast to vertebrate calmodulins, spinach calmodulin has only one tyrosinyl residue and has a threonine/serine ratio of 1.3. While amino acid compositions indicate differences between spinach and vertebrate calmodulins, isolation and characterization of tryptic peptides containing the single histidinyl and AMrimethyllysyl residues and both prolinyl residues indicate that these regions in spinach calmodulin are similar to the corresponding regions in vertebrate calmodulin. These studies more fully define the general and specific characteristics of calmodulins and indicate that calmodulin structure is not as highly conserved among all eukaryotes as it is among vertebrates and invertebrates.
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