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Brain Type II Calcium and Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase: Characterization of a Brain-Region Specific Isozyme and Regulation by Autophosphorylation


Miller, Stephen G. (1988) Brain Type II Calcium and Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase: Characterization of a Brain-Region Specific Isozyme and Regulation by Autophosphorylation. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/w18z-4r52.


A variety of molecular approaches have been used to investigate the structural and enzymatic properties of rat brain type ll Ca²⁺ and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (type ll CaM kinase). This thesis describes the isolation and biochemical characterization of a brain-region specific isozyme of the kinase and also the regulation the kinase activity by autophosphorylation.

The cerebellar isozyme of the type ll CaM kinase was purified and its biochemical properties were compared to the forebrain isozyme. The cerebellar isozyme is a large (500-kDa) multimeric enzyme composed of multiple copies of 50-kDa α subunits and 60/58-kDa β/β' subunits. The holoenzyme contains approximately 2 α subunits and 8 β subunits. This contrasts to the forebrain isozyme, which is also composed of α and β/β' subunits, but they are assembled into a holoenzyme of approximately 9 α subunits and 3 β/β' subunits. The biochemical and enzymatic properties of the two isozymes are similar. The two isozymes differ in their association with subcellular structures. Approximately 85% of the cerebellar isozyme, but only 50% of the forebrain isozyme, remains associated with the particulate fraction after homogenization under standard conditions. Postsynaptic densities purified from forebrain contain the forebrain isozyme, and the kinase subunits make up about 16% of their total protein. Postsynaptic densities purified from cerebellum contain the cerebellar isozyme, but the kinase subunits make up only 1-2% of their total protein.

The enzymatic activity of both isozymes of the type II CaM kinase is regulated by autophosphorylation in a complex manner. The kinase is initially completely dependent on Ca²⁺/calmodulin for phosphorylation of exogenous substrates as well as for autophosphorylation. Kinase activity becomes partially Ca²⁺-independent after autophosphorylation in the presence of Ca²⁺/calmodulin. Phosphorylation of only a few subunits in the dodecameric holoenzyme is sufficient to cause this change, suggesting an allosteric interaction between subunits. At the same time, autophosphorylation itself becomes independent of Ca²⁺ These observations suggest that the kinase may be able to exist in at least two stable states, which differ in their requirements for Ca²⁺/calmodulin.

The autophosphorylation sites that are involved in the regulation of kinase activity have been identified within the primary structure of the α and β subunits. We used the method of reverse phase-HPLC tryptic phosphopeptide mapping to isolate individual phosphorylation sites. The phosphopeptides were then sequenced by gas phase microsequencing. Phosphorylation of a single homologous threonine residue in the α and β subunits is correlated with the production of the Ca²⁺-independent activity state of the kinase. In addition we have identified several sites that are phosphorylated only during autophosphorylation in the absence of Ca²⁺/calmodulin.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Biology
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Major Option:Biology
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Kennedy, Mary B.
Thesis Committee:
  • Kennedy, Mary B. (chair)
  • Patterson, Paul H.
  • Aswad, Dana W.
  • Anderson, David J.
  • Davidson, Eric H.
Defense Date:13 May 1988
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03142013-100553837
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URLURL TypeDescription adapted for Chapter 3.
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:7519
Deposited By: Dan Anguka
Deposited On:14 Mar 2013 18:46
Last Modified:16 Apr 2021 22:24

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