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Biochem J. 2009 Apr 1;419(1):123-32, 4 p following 132. doi: 10.1042/BJ20081707.

Regulation of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II catalysis by N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor subunit 2B.

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  • 1Department of Neurobiology, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology, Thycaud, P.O., Thiruvananthapuram 695014, Kerala, India.


Binding of CaMKII (Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II) to the NR2B subunit of the NMDAR (N-methyl-D-aspartate-type glutamate receptor) in the PSD (postsynaptic density) is essential for the induction of long-term potentiation. In this study, we show that binding of NR2B to the T-site (Thr(286)-autophosphorylation site binding pocket) of CaMKII regulates its catalysis as reflected in the kinetic parameters. The apparent S(0.5) (substrate concentration at half maximal velocity) and V(max) values for ATP were lower for phosphorylation of a GST (glutathione transferase)-fusion of NR2B((1271-1311)) (with the phosphorylation site Ser(1303)) when compared with phosphorylation of the analogous sequence motif from NR2A. The co-operative behaviour exhibited by the CaMKII holoenzyme towards ATP for phosphorylation of GST-NR2A was significantly altered by the interaction with GST-NR2B. Disrupting the T-site-mediated binding by mutagenesis of either NR2B or CaMKII abolished the modulation of CaMKII activity by NR2B. The active site residue of alpha-CaMKII, Glu(96), participates in effecting the modulation. The CaMKII-binding motif of the Drosophila voltage-gated potassium channel Eag interacted with the T-site of CaMKII with lower affinity and caused catalytic modulation to a lesser extent. The kinetic parameters of ATP for the Thr(286)-autophosphorylation reaction of CaMKII were also altered by NR2B in a similar manner. Interestingly, the NR2B sequence motif caused increased sensitivity of CaMKII activity to ATP, and saturation by lower concentrations of ATP, which, in effect, resulted in a constant level of activity of CaMKII over a broad range of ATP concentrations. Our findings indicate that CaMKII at the PSD may be regulated by bound NR2B in a manner that supports synaptic memories.

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