Structural basis for calcium-induced inhibition of rhodopsin kinase by recoverin

James B. Ames, Konstantin Levay, Jennifer N. Wingard, Jacqueline D. Lusin, Vladlen Z. Slepak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

79 Scopus citations


Recoverin, a member of the neuronal calcium sensor branch of the EF-hand superfamily, serves as a calcium sensor that regulates rhodopsin kinase (RK) activity in retinal rod cells. We report here the NMR structure of Ca 2+-bound recoverin bound to a functional N-terminal fragment of rhodopsin kinase (residues 1-25, called RK25). The overall main-chain structure of recoverin in the complex is similar to structures of Ca2+-bound recoverin in the absence of target (<1.8 Å root-mean-square deviation). The first eight residues of recoverin at the N terminus are solvent-exposed, enabling the N-terminal myristoyl group to interact with target membranes, and Ca2+ is bound at the second and third EF-hands of the protein. RK25 in the complex forms an amphipathic helix (residues 4-16). The hydrophobic face of the RK25 helix (Val-9, Val-10, Ala-11, Ala-14, and Phe-15) interacts with an exposed hydrophobic groove on the surface of recoverin lined by side-chain atoms of Trp-31, Phe-35, Phe-49, Ile-52, Tyr-53, Phe-56, Phe-57, Tyr-86, and Leu-90. Residues of recoverin that contact RK25 are highly conserved, suggesting a similar target binding site structure in all neuronal calcium sensor proteins. Site-specific mutagenesis and deletion analysis confirm that the hydrophobic residues at the interface are necessary and sufficient for binding. The recoverin-RK25 complex exhibits Ca2+-induced binding to rhodopsin immobilized on concanavalin-A resin. We propose that Ca2+-bound recoverin is bound between rhodopsin and RK in a ternary complex on rod outer segment disk membranes, thereby blocking RK interaction with rhodopsin at high Ca2+.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37237-37245
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number48
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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