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Mol Cell Biol. 1996 Jan;16(1):29-36.

An alternative, nonkinase product of the brain-specifically expressed Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II alpha isoform gene in skeletal muscle.

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Heinrich-Pette-Institut für Experimentelle Virologie und Immunologie, Universität Hamburg, Germany.


The gene for the alpha isoform of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (alpha CaMKII) codes for a multifunctional protein kinase that is found exclusively in the brain. Here we show that in skeletal muscle, an alternative nonkinase product, hereafter referred to as alpha KAP (alpha CaMKII association protein), is expressed from the same gene. alpha KAP consists of a C-terminal region that is identical to the association domain of alpha CaMKII, with the exception of 11 amino acids inserted in the variable region. The N-terminal sequence of alpha KAP is highly hydrophobic and not present in any known CaMKII protein. The catalytic and regulatory domains of alpha CaMKII are missing in alpha KAP. Analysis of the exon-intron structure revealed that the alpha KAP transcript is derived from the alpha CaMKII gene by alternative promoter usage and RNA splicing. The transcriptional start site of alpha KAP mRNA is located within an intron of the alpha CaMKII gene. Therefore, the relationship between alpha KAP and alpha CaMKII is that of a gene within a gene. Immunostaining using anti-alpha KAP antibodies suggests that alpha KAP is associated with sarcomeres of skeletal muscle fibers. On the basis of its primary structure and specific location, the possible function of alpha KAP as an anchoring protein for CaMKII is discussed.

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