A Ca2+- and calmodulin (CaM)-dependent protein kinase of Saccharomyces cerevisiae was partially purified by CaM affinity chromatography of the soluble fraction, and the properties of the enzyme were investigated. The protein kinase activity of the affinity-purified preparation was stimulated at least eightfold by the simultaneous presence of Ca2+ and CaM. The enzyme stimulation was strongly inhibited by trifluoperazine (TFP), a CaM antagonist. When the kinase was incubated in the presence of ATP, Ca2+, and CaM before the assay, the enzyme showed activity even in the presence of the Ca2+ chelator ethylene glycol-bis(beta-aminoethyl ether)-N,N,N',N'-tetraacetic acid (EGTA) and TFP. The conversion to this Ca2+- and CaM-independent form occurred very rapidly under the incubation conditions required for protein phosphorylation by the kinase. At the highest level of conversion, Ca2+- and CaM-independent kinase activity, which was measured in the presence of EGTA and TFP, was nearly equal to the total kinase activity, which was measured in the presence of Ca2+ and CaM. A protein with a molecular weight of 58,000 was the major species that was phosphorylated in a Ca2+- and CaM-dependent manner by incubation of the CaM affinity-purified proteins with [gamma-32P]ATP. The protein kinase activity of the protein with the same molecular weight was demonstrated by in situ protein phosphorylation in sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gels by using casein as the substrate, after removal of the detergent from electrophoresed CaM-binding proteins. These data indicate that phosphorylation of the kinase is responsible for the conversion of enzyme activity. Enzyme regulation by this mode may play an important role in integrating cellular functions during the cell cycle. A possible role for the Ca2+-and CaM-dependent protein kinase in the signal transduction of the mating pheromone alpha factor is also discussed
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