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FEBS J. 2006 Feb;273(4):682-94.

Oligomerization states of the association domain and the holoenyzme of Ca2+/CaM kinase II.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3202, USA.


Ca2+/calmodulin activated protein kinase II (CaMKII) is an oligomeric protein kinase with a unique holoenyzme architecture. The subunits of CaMKII are bound together into the holoenzyme by the association domain, a C-terminal region of approximately 140 residues in the CaMKII polypeptide. Single particle analyses of electron micrographs have suggested previously that the holoenyzme forms a dodecamer that contains two stacked 6-fold symmetric rings. In contrast, a recent crystal structure of the isolated association domain of mouse CaMKIIalpha has revealed a tetradecameric assembly with two stacked 7-fold symmetric rings. In this study, we have determined the crystal structure of the Caenorhabditis elegans CaMKII association domain and it too forms a tetradecamer. We also show by electron microscopy that in its fully assembled form the CaMKII holoenzyme is a dodecamer but without the kinase domains, either from expression of the isolated association domain in bacteria or following their removal by proteolysis, the association domains form a tetradecamer. We speculate that the holoenzyme is held in its 6-fold symmetric state by the interactions of the N-terminal approximately 1-335 residues and that the removal of this region allows the association domain to convert into a more stable 7-fold symmetric form.

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