The interaction of the antiestrogen tamoxifen (Tx) with calmodulin (CaM) was investigated by cross-linking between the protein and [3H] tamoxifen aziridine. We observed that CaM binds Tx in a Ca2+-dependent manner and that two components are involved in the binding, with apparent dissociation constants (Kd) of about 6 nm and 9 µm. The high affinity binding site has a maximal capacity of 25 pmol/mg protein, whereas the low affinity binding site has a Bmax value of 120 nmol/mg protein. The stimulatory effect of Ca2+ is maximal at the pCa value of 5, and it is noncompetitively inhibited by Mg2+. In the micromolar range, the cation-dependent interaction of Tx with CaM exhibits positive cooperativity (nH = 1.4) and it is specific in the sense that it is inhibited by unlabeled Tx and by the CaM antagonist trifluoperazine. In contrast, no specificity was observed for the Tx binding, which is cation independent. Tx in the nanomolar range forms complexes with CaM which can be visualized by fluorography after electrophoretic separation in a polyacrylamide gel. Furthermore, CaM antagonism of Tx was observed with respect to inhibition of the CaM effect on the RBC membrane (Ca2+ + Mg2+)-ATPase. The results indicate that Tx may alter Ca2+-dependent processes by interacting directly with CaM.

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This work was supported by grants from the National Institute for Scientific Research of the Portuguese Ministry of Education and from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

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