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J Neurochem. 2005 Jan;92(2):388-94.

Calcium-dependent dephosphorylation of brain mitochondrial calcium/cAMP response element binding protein (CREB).

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21201, USA.


Calcium-mediated signaling regulates nuclear gene transcription by calcium/cAMP response element binding protein (CREB) via calcium-dependent kinases and phosphatases. This study tested the hypothesis that CREB is also present in mitochondria and subject to dynamic calcium-dependent modulation of its phosphorylation state. Antibodies to CREB and phosphorylated CREB (pCREB) were used to demonstrate the presence of both forms in isolated mitochondria and mitoplasts from rat brain. When energized mitochondria were exposed to increasing concentrations of Ca2+ in the physiological range, pCREB was lost while total CREB remained constant. In the presence of Ru360, an inhibitor of the mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake uniporter, calcium-dependent loss of pCREB levels was attenuated, suggesting that intramitochondrial calcium plays an important role in pCREB dephosphorylation. pCREB dephosphorylation was not, however, inhibited by the phosphatase inhibitors okadaic acid and Tacrolimus. In the absence of Ca2+, CREB phosphorylation was elevated by the addition of ATP to the mitochondrial suspension. Exposure of mitochondria to the pore-forming molecule alamethicin that causes osmotic swelling and release of intermembrane proteins enriched mitochondrial pCREB immunoreactivity. These results further suggest that mitochondrial CREB is located in the matrix or inner membrane and that a kinase and a calcium-dependent phosphatase regulate its phosphorylation state.

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