Size exclusion chromatographic analyses showed that Ca2+-free VILIP-1 contained both monomeric and dimeric forms, while no appreciable dimerization was noted with Ca2+-free VILIP-3. Swapping of EF-hands 3 and 4 of VILIP-1 with those of VILIP-3 caused the inability of the resulting chimeric protein to form dimeric protein. Nonreducing SDS-PAGE analyses revealed that most of the dimeric VILIP-1 was noncovalently bound together. Reduced glutathione (GSH)/oxidized glutathione (GSSG) treatment notably enhanced the formation of disulfide-linked VILIP-1 dimer, while Ca2+ and Mg2+ enhanced disulfide dimerization of VILIP-1 marginally in the presence of thiol compounds. Cys-187 at the C-terminus of VILIP-1 contributed greatly to form S-S-crosslinked dimer as revealed by mutagenesis studies. The ability of GSH/GSSG-treated VILIP-1 to activate guanylyl cyclase B was reduced by substituting Cys-187 with Ala. Together with disulfide dimer of VILIP-1 detected in rat brain extracts, our data may imply the functional contribution of disulfide dimer to the interaction of VILIP-1 with its physiological target(s).
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