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J Biol Chem. 2004 Apr 23;279(17):17980-8. Epub 2004 Feb 17.

Regulation of the neuron-specific Ras GTPase-activating protein, synGAP, by Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II.

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Division of Biology 216-76, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.


synGAP is a neuron-specific Ras GTPase-activating protein found in high concentration in the postsynaptic density fraction from mammalian forebrain. Proteins in the postsynaptic density, including synGAP, are part of a signaling complex attached to the cytoplasmic tail of the N-methyl-d-aspartate-type glutamate receptor. synGAP can be phosphorylated by a second prominent component of the complex, Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II. Here we show that phosphorylation of synGAP by Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II increases its Ras GTPase-activating activity by 70-95%. We identify four major sites of phosphorylation, serines 1123, 1058, 750/751/756, and 764/765. These sites together with other minor phosphorylation sites in the carboxyl tail of synGAP control stimulation of GTPase-activating activity. When three of these sites and four other serines in the carboxyl tail are mutated, stimulation of GAP activity after phosphorylation is reduced to 21 +/- 5% compared with 70-95% for the wild type protein. We used phosphosite-specific antibodies to show that, as predicted, phosphorylation of serines 765 and 1123 is increased in cultured cortical neurons after exposure of the neurons to the agonist N-methyl-d-aspartate.

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