The Ca(II)-dependent photoprotein aequorin produces the luminescence of the marine coelenterate Aequorea victoria. The complete amino acid sequence of aequorin has been determined. A complete set of nonoverlapping peptides was produced by cyanogen bromide cleavage. These peptides were aligned by using the amino-terminal sequence of the intact protein and the sequences of selected arginyl and lysyl cleavage products. Although the aequorin preparations employed in these studies were homogeneous by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, the presence of a minimum of 3 isotypes was demonstrated by the location of 17 sites of sequence microheterogeneity. Two amino acid variants were observed at each of 16 positions while 1 position had 3 different replacements. The protein as isolated has 189 amino acids with an unblocked amino terminus. According to the sequence reported here, the molecular weight of the apoprotein is 21 459 while that of the holoprotein is 21914. The molecule possesses three internally homologous domains which were judged to be EF-hand Ca(II) binding domains by several different criteria. Aequorin is homologous to troponin C and to calmodulin. These findings demonstrate that aequorin is a member of the Ca(II) binding protein superfamily.
ASJC Scopus subject areas