CaM (4 cTnC) is a calmodulin--cardiac troponin C chimeric protein containing the first, second, and third calcium-binding EF-hands of calmodulin (CaM) and the fourth EF-hand of cardiac troponin C (cTnC) [George, S.E., Su, Z., Fan, D., & Means, A.R. (1993) J. Biol. Chem. 268, 25213-25220]. CaM (4 cTnC) showed 2-fold-enhanced carboxy-terminal Ca2+ affinity relative to CaM and also exhibited impaired activation of the CaM-regulated enzymes smooth muscle myosin light chain kinase (smMLCK), neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS), and phosphodiesterase (PDE). To investigate the molecular basis for these effects, we constructed (1) additional chimeras, replacing most of CaM helix 7, Ca2+-binding loop 4, and helix 8 with the corresponding helices and loops of cTnC; and (2) point mutants in the fourth EF-hand of CaM. Replacement of CaM's fourth loop with the corresponding loop of cTnC enhanced Ca2+ affinity by over 3-fold through an increase in the Ca2+ on rate and also reduced cooperativity of Ca2+ binding. In contrast, substitution of CaM helix 7 or 8 modestly decreased Ca2+ affinity by increasing the Ca2+ off rate, without impairment of cooperativity. All three of the helix and loop chimeras fully activated PDE, with minor shifts in Kact. CaM (helix 7 cTnC) showed a significantly impaired ability to activate smMLCK and nNOS, whereas the other two chimeras retained about 80% of the maximal smMLCK and nNOS activation observed with CaM.