Spatiotemporal Dynamics of CaMKI During Structural Plasticity of Single Dendritic Spines

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Yasuda, Ryohei
Soderling, Scott H

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Multifunctional calcium/calmodulin dependent protein kinases (CaMKs) are key regulators of spine structural plasticity and long-term potentiation (LTP) in neurons. CaMKs have promiscuous and overlapping substrate recognition motifs, and are distinguished in their regulatory role based on differences in the spatiotemporal dynamics of activity. While the function and activity of CaMKII in synaptic plasticity has been extensively studied, that of CaMKI, another major class of CaMK required for LTP, still remain elusive.

Here, we develop a Förster’s Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) based sensor to measure the spatiotemporal activity dynamics of CaMK1. We monitored CaMKI activity using 2-photon fluorescence lifetime imaging, while inducing LTP in single dendritic spines of rat (Rattus Norvegicus, strain Sprague Dawley) hippocampal CA1 pyramidal neurons using 2-photon glutamate uncaging. Using RNA-interference and pharmacological means, we also characterize the role of CaMKI during spine structural plasticity.

We found that CaMKI was rapidly and transiently activated with a rise time of ~0.3 s and decay time of ~1 s in response to each uncaging pulse. Activity of CaMKI spread out of the spine. Phosphorylation of CaMKI by CaMKK was required for this spreading and for the initial phase of structural LTP. Combined with previous data showing that CaMKII is restricted to the stimulated spine and required for long-term maintenance of structural LTP, these results suggest that CaMK diversity allows the same incoming signal – calcium – to independently regulate distinct phases of LTP by activating different CaMKs with distinct spatiotemporal dynamics.






Ramnath, Rohit (2016). Spatiotemporal Dynamics of CaMKI During Structural Plasticity of Single Dendritic Spines. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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