It is known that the two types of FK506-binding proteins FKBP12 and FKBP12.6 are tightly associated with the skeletal (RyR1) and cardiac ryanodine receptors (RyR2), respectively, and their interactions are important for channel functions of the RyR. In the case of cardiac muscle, three amino acid residues (Gln-31, Asn-32, and Phe-59) of FKBP12.6 could be essential for the selective binding to RyR2 (Xin, H. B., Rogers, K., Qi, Y., Kanematsu, T., and Fleischer, S. (1999) J. Biol. Chem. 274, 15315-15319). In this study to identify amino acid residues of FKBP12 that are important for the selective binding to RyR1, we mutated 9 amino acid residues of FKBP12 that differ from the counterparts of FKBP12.6 (Q3E, R18A, E31Q, D32N, M49R, R57A, W59F, H94A, and K105A), and we examined binding properties of these mutants to RyR1 by in vitro binding assay by using glutathione S-transferase-fused proteins of the mutants and Triton X-100-solubilized, FKBP12-depleted rabbit skeletal sarcoplasmic reticulum vesicles. Among the nine mutants tested, only Q3E and R18A lost their selective binding ability to RyR1. Furthermore, co-immunoprecipitation of RyR1 with 33 various mutants for the 9 positions produced by introducing different size, charge, and hydrophobicity revealed that an integration of the hydrogen bonds by the irreplaceable Gln-3 and the hydrophobic interactions by the residues Arg-18 and Met-49 could be a possible mechanism for the binding of FKBP12 to RyR1. Therefore, these results suggest that the N-terminal regions of FKBP12 (Gln-3 and Arg-18) and Met-49 are essential and unique for binding of FKBP12 to RyR1 in skeletal muscle.
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