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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Regulation and properties of the rat Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IV gene and its protein products.

Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IV (CaMKIV) is a monomeric multifunctional enzyme that is expressed only in subanatomical portions of the brain, T lymphocytes, and postmeiotic male germ cells. It is present in the nucleus of the cells in which it is expressed and can phosphorylate and activate the cyclic AMP response element binding proteins CREB and CREM tau in a manner analogous to protein kinase A. In the absence of Ca2+/calmodulin, CaMKIV is inactive. Activation requires three events: 1) binding of Ca2+/calmodulin; 2) phosphorylation of a single threonine residue present in the activation loop by a separate protein kinase that is also Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent; and 3) autophosphorylation of serine residues present in the extreme N-terminus that is required to relieve a novel form of autoinhibition. The gene for rat CaMKIV has been cloned and found to span 42 kb of DNA. The gene encodes three proteins: namely, the alpha and beta forms of CaMKIV that differ only in that the beta form contains a 28 amino acid N-terminal extension as well as calspermin. Calspermin is the C-terminal 169 amino acids of CaMKIV that binds Ca2+/calmodulin and is expressed only in postmeiotic male germ cells. The promoter for calspermin resides in the penultimate intron of the CaMKIV gene and is regulated by two CREs. This promoter is sufficient to faithfully target expression of a reporter gene to the postmeiotic male germ cells of transgenic mice. Transgene expression can be induced in cells from the transgenic mice that do not normally express it by transfection of CREM tau and CaMKIV. These data suggest that rearrangement of chromatin during meiosis together with the expression of CREM tau at high levels are sufficient to control expression of the calspermin promoter during spermatogenesis. On the other hand, the developmental expression of CaMKIV in brain and thymus appears to be controlled by thyroid hormone mediated via the thyroid hormone receptor alpha. In T lymphocytes, CaMKIV will phosphorylate CREB in response to signals that result in T cell activation. Transgenic mice that express a kinase minus mutant of CaMKIV specifically in thymic T cells show a marked reduction of total thymic cellularity. The remaining T cells undergo a much greater than normal rate of spontaneous apoptosis when placed in culture. These cells fail to generate the signals to phosphorylate CREB and produce significantly less of the cytokine Interleukin-2 (IL-2) in response to agents that either increase intracellular Ca2+ and/or activate protein kinase C. Collectively, the data suggest that CaMKIV may be involved both in preventing apoptosis during T cell development and also in the early cascade of events that is required to activate the mature T cells in response to a mitogenic stimulus.[1]


  1. Regulation and properties of the rat Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IV gene and its protein products. Means, A.R., Ribar, T.J., Kane, C.D., Hook, S.S., Anderson, K.A. Recent Prog. Horm. Res. (1997) [Pubmed]
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