CAMP response element-binding protein is activated by Ca2+/calmodulin- as well as cAMP-dependent protein kinase
Dash, P.K.; Karl, K.A.; Colicos, M.A.; Prywes, R.; Kandel, E.R.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 88(11): 5061-5065
In a variety of nerve cells of the brain, action potentials activate gene expression by means of Ca2+ influx. To determine how Ca2+ influx alters gene expression, we have examined the pattern of phosphorylation of a protein that binds to the cAMP response element (CRE). We have found that purified bovine brain CRE-binding protein is a substrate for the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (Cam kinase) as it is for the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (kinase A). Tryptic peptide maps show that the same peptide is phosphorylated in vitro both by kinase A and by Cam kinase. Moreover, in vitro transcription assays using a CRE-containing c-fos promoter indicate that phosphorylation of CRE-binding protein by Cam kinase increases gene transcription. Thus, action potentials in nerve cells and the consequent influx of Ca2+ can activate CRE-binding proteins by means of Cam kinase. This kinase therefore provides a direct second-messenger pathway by which impulse activity at the membrane can influence gene transcription. This has been shown independently by Sheng et al. (Sheng, M., Thomson, M. A. & Greenberg, M. E. (1991) Science, in press), who found that depolarization and Ca2+ influx mediate induction of c-fos in PC12 rat pheochromocytoma cells through phosphorylation of CRE-binding protein. These several findings indicate that CRE-binding protein(s) is a convergence point for synaptic activity acting through kinase A and impulse activity acting through Cam kinase. Together the two kinases could activate transcription in a synergistic manner, which could allow CRE-binding protein to couple short-term to long-term associative forms of synaptic plasticity.