Centrins are a family of small, EF hand-containing proteins that are found in all eukaryotes and are often complexed with centrosome-related structures. Since their discovery, centrins have attracted increasing interest due to their multiple, diverse cellular functions. Centrins are similar to calmodulin (CaM) in size, structure and domain organization, although in contrast to CaM, the majority of centrins possess at least one calcium (Ca2+) binding site that is non-functional, thus displaying large variance in Ca2+ sensing abilities that could support their functional versatility. In this review, we summarize current knowledge on centrins from both biophysical and structural perspectives with an emphasis on centrin-target interactions. In-depth analysis of the Ca2+ sensing properties of centrins and structures of centrins complexed with target proteins can provide useful insight into the mechanisms of the different functions of centrins and how these proteins contribute to the complexity of the Ca2+ signaling cascade. Moreover, it can help to better understand the functional redundancy of centrin isoforms and centrin-binding proteins.
Pedretti, Marco;Bombardi, Luca;Conter, Carolina;Favretto, Filippo;Dominici, Paola;Astegno, Alessandra
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