The Journal of biological chemistry

Ca2+-dependent monomer and dimer formation switches CAPRI Protein between Ras GTPase-activating protein (GAP) and RapGAP activities.

PMID 21460216


CAPRI is a member of the GAP1 family of GTPase-activating proteins (GAPs) for small G proteins. It is known to function as an amplitude sensor for intracellular Ca(2+) levels stimulated by extracellular signals and has a catalytic domain with dual RasGAP and RapGAP activities. Here, we have investigated the mechanism that switches CAPRI between its two GAP activities. We demonstrate that CAPRI forms homodimers in vitro and in vivo in a Ca(2+)-dependent manner. The site required for dimerization was pinpointed by deletion and point mutations to a helix motif that forms a hydrophobic face in the extreme C-terminal tail of the CAPRI protein. Deletion of this helix motif abolished dimer formation but did not affect translocation of CAPRI to the plasma membrane upon cell stimulation with histamine. We found that dimeric and monomeric CAPRI coexist in cells and that the ratio of dimeric to monomeric CAPRI increases upon cell stimulation with histamine. Free Ca(2+) at physiologically relevant concentrations was both necessary and sufficient for dimer formation. Importantly, the monomeric and dimeric forms of CAPRI exhibited differential GAP activities in vivo; the wild-type form of CAPRI had stronger RapGAP activity than RasGAP activity, whereas a monomeric CAPRI mutant showed stronger RasGAP than RapGAP activity. These results demonstrate that CAPRI switches between its dual GAP roles by forming monomers or homodimers through a process regulated by Ca(2+). We propose that Ca(2+)-dependent dimerization of CAPRI may serve to coordinate Ras and Rap1 signaling pathways.