# Structural determinants of subunit-subunit interactions and subcellular localization of the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II

#### Abstract

The multifunctional Ca$\sp{2+}$/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaM kinase) is a Ser/Thr directed protein kinase that participates in diverse Ca$\sp{2+}$ signaling pathways in neurons. The function of CaM kinase depends upon the ability of subunits to form oligomers and to interact with other proteins. Oligomerization is required for autophosphorylation which produces significant functional changes that include Ca$\sp{2+}$/calmodulin-independent activity and calmodulin trapping. Associations with other proteins localize CaM kinase to specific substrates and effectors which serves to optimize the efficiency and speed of signal transduction. In this thesis, we investigate the interactions that underlie the appropriate positioning of CaM kinase activity in cells. We demonstrate that the subcellular distribution of CaM kinase is dynamic in hippocampal slices exposed to anoxic/aglycemic insults and to high K$\sp{+}$-induced depolarization. We determine the localization of CaM kinase domains expressed in neurons and PC-12 cells and find that the C-terminal domain of the $\alpha$ subunit is necessary for localization to dendrites. Moreover, monomeric forms of the enzyme gain access to the nucleus. Attempts made to identify novel CaM kinase binding proteins using the yeast two-hybrid system resulted in the isolation of hundreds of positive clones. Those that have been sequenced are identical to CaM kinase isoforms. Finally, we report the discovery of specific regions within the C-terminal domain that are necessary and sufficient for subunit-subunit interactions. Differences between the $\alpha$ and $\beta$ isoforms were discovered that indicate unique structural requirements for oligomerization. A model for how CaM kinase subunits interact to form holoenzymes and how structural heterogeneity might influence CaM kinase function is presented.

#### Subject Area

Biochemistry|Neurology|Molecular biology

#### Recommended Citation

Kolb, Stephen James, "Structural determinants of subunit-subunit interactions and subcellular localization of the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II" (1998). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9909441.
https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/dissertations/AAI9909441

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