2016 Volume 92 Issue 10 Pages 478-498
Intracellular signaling pathways include both the activation and the inhibition of biological processes. The activation of Ca2+ regulation of actin-myosin interactions was examined first, whereas it took 20 years for the author to clarify the inhibitory mode by using Physarum polycephalum, a lower eukaryote. This review describes the investigation of the inhibitory mode since 1980. The inhibitory effect of Ca2+ on myosin was detected chemically by ATPase assays and mechanically by in vitro motility assays. The Ca2+-binding ability of Physarum myosin is as high as that of scallop myosin. Ca2+ inhibits Physarum myosin, whereas it activates scallop myosin. We cloned cDNA of the myosin heavy chain and light chains to express a hybrid of Physarum and scallop myosin, and found that the Ca-binding light chain (CaLc), which belongs to an alkali light chain class, plays a major role in Ca inhibition. The role of CaLc was confirmed by mutating its EF-hand, Ca-binding structure and expressing Physarum myosin as a recombinant protein. Thus, the data obtained by classical protein purification were confirmed by the results obtained with the modern recombinant techniques. However, there are some discrepancies that remain to be solved as described in Section XII.