Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Calcium/calmodulin-dependent Kinase II in Single Dendritic Spines During Synaptic Plasticity
Synaptic plasticity is the leading candidate for the cellular/molecular basis of learning and memory. One of the key molecules involved in synaptic plasticity is Calcium/calmodulin-dependent Kinase II (CaMKII). Synaptic plasticity can be expressed at a single dendritic spine independent of its neighboring dendritic spines. Here, we investigated how long the activity of CaMKII lasts during synaptic plasticity of single dendritic spines. We found that CaMKII activity lasted ~2 minutes during synaptic plasticity and was restricted to the dendritic spines undergoing synaptic plasticity while nearby dendritic spines did not show any change in the level of CaMKII activity. Our experimental data argue against the persistent activation of CaMKII in dendritic spines undergoing synaptic plasticity and suggest that the activity of CaMKII is a spine-specific biochemical signal necessary for synapse-specificity of synaptic plasticity. We provide a biophysical explanation of how spine-specific CaMKII activation can be achieved during synaptic plasticity. We also found that CaMKII is activated by highly localized calcium influx in the proximity of Voltage-dependent Calcium Channels (VDCCs) and a different set of VDCCs and their respective Ca2+ nanodomains are responsible for the differential activation of CaMKII between dendritic spines and dendritic shafts.
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