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Neuron. 2006 Jun 15;50(6):897-909.

Activity-dependent dendritic arborization mediated by CaM-kinase I activation and enhanced CREB-dependent transcription of Wnt-2.

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  • 1Vollum Institute, Oregon Health and Science University, 3181 SW Sam Jackson Park Road, Portland, Oregon 97239, USA.


Members of the Wnt signaling family are important mediators of numerous developmental events, including activity-dependent dendrite development, but the pathways regulating expression and secretion of Wnt in response to neuronal activity are poorly defined. Here, we identify an NMDA receptor-mediated, Ca2+-dependent signaling pathway that couples neuronal activity to dendritic arborization through enhanced Wnt synthesis and secretion. Activity-dependent dendritic outgrowth and branching in cultured hippocampal neurons and slices is mediated through activation by CaM-dependent protein kinase kinase (CaMKK) of the membrane-associated gamma isoform of CaMKI. Downstream effectors of CaMKI include the MAP-kinase pathway of Ras/MEK/ERK and the transcription factor CREB. A serial analysis of chromatin occupancy screen identified Wnt-2 as an activity-dependent CREB-responsive gene. Neuronal activity enhances CREB-dependent transcription of Wnt-2, and expression of Wnt-2 stimulates dendritic arborization. This novel signaling pathway contributes to dynamic remodeling of the dendritic architecture in response to neuronal activity during development.

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