The role of calcium-binding proteins in the control of transcription: Structure to function

Mitsuhiko Ikura, Masanori Osawa, James B. Ames

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

127 Citations (Scopus)


Transcriptional regulation is coupled with numerous intracellular signaling processes often mediated by second messengers. Now, growing evidence points to the importance of Ca2+, one of the most versatile second messengers, in activating or inhibiting gene transcription through actions frequently mediated by members of the EF-hand superfamily of Ca2+-binding proteins. Calmodulin and calcineurin, representative members of this EF-hand superfamily, indirectly regulate transcription through phosphorylation/dephosphorylation of transcription factors in response to a Ca2+ increase in the cell. Recently, a novel EF-hand Ca2+-binding protein called DREAM has been found to interact with regulatory sequences of DNA, thereby acting as a direct regulator of transcription. Finally, S100B, a dimeric EF-hand Ca2+ binding protein, interacts with the tumor suppressor p53 and controls its transcriptional activity. In light of the structural studies reported to date, this review provides an overview of the structural basis of EF-hand Ca2+ binding proteins linked with transcriptional regulation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-636
Number of pages12
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology


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