Does the binding of cyclosporine to calmodulin result in immunosuppression?

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Science  03 Oct 1986:
Vol. 234, Issue 4772, pp. 68-71
DOI: 10.1126/science.3749892


The cyclosporines are a family of cyclic endecapeptides that cause a profound suppression of primary immune stimulation both in vitro and in vivo. Recently, the regulatory protein calmodulin (CaM) has been implicated as a target for cyclosporin A (CsA) binding. This study utilized two less-active isomers of CsA to evaluate the specificity and biological significance of CaM binding. The three cyclosporines exhibited equivalent in vitro binding to CaM, regardless of immunosuppressive activity. Furthermore, CaM-dependent enzyme systems were inhibited equally by active and inactive cyclosporines, but only at concentrations 100 times those necessary to block lymphocyte activation. Thus the exquisite immunosuppressive stereospecificity displayed by cyclosporine isomers is not reflected in the binding to and inhibition of CaM, suggesting that inhibition of CaM-dependent processes is not sufficient to explain the immunosuppressive activity of CsA.