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Parvalbumin, Oncomodulin, Structure, Stability, Calcium Binding, Physiological Functions

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Parvalbumin (PA) is a small, acidic, mostly cytosolic Ca2+-binding protein of the EF-hand superfamily. Structural and physical properties of PA are well studied but recently two highly conserved structural motifs consisting of three amino acids each (clusters I and II), which contribute to the hydrophobic core of the EF-hand domains, have been revealed. Despite several decades of studies, physiological functions of PA are still poorly known. Since no target proteins have been revealed for PA so far, it is believed that PA acts as a slow calcium buffer. Numerous experiments on various muscle systems have shown that PA accelerates the relaxation of fast skeletal muscles. It has been found that oxidation of PA by reactive oxygen species (ROS) is conformation-dependent and one more physiological function of PA in fast muscles could be a protection of these cells from ROS. PA is thought to regulate calcium-dependent metabolic and electric processes within the population of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons. Genetic elimination of PA results in changes in GABAergic synaptic transmission. Mammalian oncomodulin (OM), the β isoform of PA, is expressed mostly in cochlear outer hair cells and in vestibular hair cells. OM knockout mice lose their hearing after 3–4 months. It was suggested that, in sensory cells, OM maintains auditory function, most likely affecting outer hair cells’ motility mechanisms.

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Biomolecules, v. 12, issue 5, art. 656