The binding of Ca2+ to a previously described phosphoprotein from human parotid saliva, protein A [Bennick (1975) Biochem J. 145, 557-567] was studied by means of equilibrium dialysis. In 5 mM-Tris/HC1 buffer, pH7.5, protein A bound 664nmol of Ca/mg of protein. Km was determined to be 181 muM and the binding of Ca2+ to the protein was non-co-operative. The binding of Ca2+ apparently occurs to side-chain carboxyl groups in the protein, but protein phosphate is of minor if any importance in calcium binding. Hydrolysis of protein A by trypsin and collagenase or heating of the protein at 60 degrees or 100 degrees C did not affect Ca2+ binding. The Ca2+ binding decreases with increased concentration of the dialysis buffer and on the addition of SrCl2, or MgCl2 or MnCl2 to the dialysis buffer. Protein A does not aggregate in the presence of Ca2+, since the s20,w was identical when determined in the presence (1.30S) and absence (1.35S) of CaCl2. By use of a specific antiserum to protein A it was found that protein C [Bennick & Connell (1971) Biochem. J. 123, 455-464] and perhaps minor related components cross-reacted with protein A. No other salivary proteins showed immunological similarity. Proteins A and C were also present in submandibular saliva. The possible functions of protein A are discussed.
- © 1976 London: The Biochemical Society