Cadmium (Cd), a toxic environmental contaminant, induces neurodegenerative diseases. Recently we have shown that Cd elevates intracellular free calcium ion ([Ca2+]i) level, leading to neuronal apoptosis partly by activating mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways. However, the underlying mechanism remains to be elucidated. Here we show that the effects of Cd elevated [Ca2+]i on MAPK and mTOR network as well as neuronal cell death are through stimulating phosphorylation of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). This is supported by the findings that chelating intracellular Ca2+ with BAPTA/AM or preventing Cd-induced [Ca2+]i elevation using 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate (2-APB) blocked Cd activation of CaMKII. Inhibiting CaMKII with KN93 or silencing CaMKII attenuated Cd activation of MAPK/mTOR pathways and cell death. Furthermore, inhibitors of mTOR (rapamycin), JNK (SP600125) and Erk1/2 (U0126), but not of p38 (PD169316), prevented Cd-induced neuronal cell death in part through inhibition of [Ca2+]i elevation and CaMKII phosphorylation. The results indicate that Cd activates MAPK/mTOR network triggering neuronal cell death, by stimulating CaMKII. Our findings underscore a central role of CaMKII in the neurotoxicology of Cd, and suggest that manipulation of intracellular Ca2+ level or CaMKII activity may be exploited for prevention of Cd-induced neurodegenerative disorders.
cadmium; apoptosis; calcium ion; calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II; mitogen-activated protein kinase; mammalian target of rapamycin
Plaque necrosis in advanced atheromata, which triggers acute atherothrombotic vascular events, is caused by the apoptosis of lesional macrophages coupled with defective phagocytic clearance of the dead cells. The central enabling event in macrophage apoptosis relevant to advanced atherosclerosis is the unfolded protein response (UPR), an endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress pathway. The UPR effector CHOP (GADD153) amplifies release of ER Ca2+ stores, which activates a central integrator of apoptosis signaling, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). CaMKII, in turn, leads to activation of pro-apoptotic STAT1, induction of the death receptor Fas, and stimulation of the mitochondria-cytochrome c pathway of apoptosis. While these pathways are necessary for apoptosis, apoptosis occurs only when the cells are also exposed to one or more additional “hits.” These hits amplify pro-apoptotic pathways and/or suppress compensatory cell-survival pathways. A second hit relevant to atherosclerosis is activation of pattern recognition receptors (PRRs), such as scavenger and toll-like receptors. In vivo relevance is suggested by the fact that advanced human lesions express markers of UPR activation that correlate closely with the degree of plaque vulnerability and macrophage apoptosis. Moreover, studies with genetically altered mice have shown that ER stress and PRR activation are causative for advanced lesional macrophage apoptosis and plaque necrosis. In summary, a key cellular event in the conversion of benign to vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques is ER stress-induced macrophage apoptosis. Further understanding of the mechanisms and consequences of this event may lead to novel therapies directed at preventing the clinical progression of atheromata.
atherosclerosis; macrophage; apoptosis; plaque necrosis; unfolded protein response; calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II
Calmodulin kinase II (CaMKII) mediates critical signaling pathways responsible for divergent functions in the heart including calcium cycling, hypertrophy and apoptosis. Dysfunction in the CaMKII signaling pathway occurs in heart disease and is associated with increased susceptibility to life-threatening arrhythmia. Furthermore, CaMKII inhibition prevents cardiac arrhythmia and improves heart function following myocardial infarction. Recently, a novel mechanism for oxidative CaMKII activation was discovered in the heart. Here, we provide the first report of CaMKII oxidation state in a well-validated, large-animal model of heart disease. Specifically, we observe increased levels of oxidized CaMKII in the infarct border zone (BZ). These unexpected new data identify an alternative activation pathway for CaMKII in common cardiovascular disease. To study the role of oxidation-dependent CaMKII activation in creating a pro-arrhythmia substrate following myocardial infarction, we developed a new mathematical model of CaMKII activity including both oxidative and autophosphorylation activation pathways. Computer simulations using a multicellular mathematical model of the cardiac fiber demonstrate that enhanced CaMKII activity in the infarct BZ, due primarily to increased oxidation, is associated with reduced conduction velocity, increased effective refractory period, and increased susceptibility to formation of conduction block at the BZ margin, a prerequisite for reentry. Furthermore, our model predicts that CaMKII inhibition improves conduction and reduces refractoriness in the BZ, thereby reducing vulnerability to conduction block and reentry. These results identify a novel oxidation-dependent pathway for CaMKII activation in the infarct BZ that may be an effective therapeutic target for improving conduction and reducing heterogeneity in the infarcted heart.
Calmodulin kinase II (CaMKII) is a multifunctional serine/threonine kinase that regulates diverse functions in heart. Recently, a novel pathway for CaMKII activation was discovered where oxidation of the kinase at specific methionine residues produces persistent activity. This alternative oxidation-dependent pathway has important implications for heart disease where oxidative stress is increased (e.g., heart failure and following myocardial infarction). We hypothesized that myocardial infarction caused by occlusion of a coronary artery would increase levels of oxidized CaMKII. Moreover, we hypothesized that oxidative CaMKII activation represents an important mechanistic link between increased oxidative stress and life-threatening heart rhythm disturbances (arrhythmias) in heart disease. We report a dramatic increase in levels of oxidized CaMKII following myocardial infarction in the canine. Based on these experimental data, we developed a novel mathematical model of CaMKII activity to study the role of oxidation-dependent CaMKII activation in regulating cardiac cell excitability. Our findings identify a novel role for oxidation-dependent CaMKII activation following myocardial infarction and provide a mechanistic link between oxidative stress and lethal cardiac arrhythmias in heart disease.
ER stress–induced apoptosis is implicated in various pathological conditions, but the mechanisms linking ER stress–mediated signaling to downstream apoptotic pathways remain unclear. Using human and mouse cell culture and in vivo mouse models of ER stress–induced apoptosis, we have shown that cytosolic calcium resulting from ER stress induces expression of the Fas death receptor through a pathway involving calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase IIγ (CaMKIIγ) and JNK. Remarkably, CaMKIIγ was also responsible for processes involved in mitochondrial-dependent apoptosis, including release of mitochondrial cytochrome c and loss of mitochondrial membrane potential. CaMKII-dependent apoptosis was also observed in a number of cultured human and mouse cells relevant to ER stress–induced pathology, including cultured macrophages, endothelial cells, and neuronal cells subjected to proapoptotic ER stress. Moreover, WT mice subjected to systemic ER stress showed evidence of macrophage mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis, renal epithelial cell apoptosis, and renal dysfunction, and these effects were markedly reduced in CaMKIIγ-deficient mice. These data support an integrated model in which CaMKII serves as a unifying link between ER stress and the Fas and mitochondrial apoptotic pathways. Our study also revealed what we believe to be a novel proapoptotic function for CaMKII, namely, promotion of mitochondrial calcium uptake. These findings raise the possibility that CaMKII inhibitors could be useful in preventing apoptosis in pathological settings involving ER stress–induced apoptosis.
Calcium/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) forms a highly conserved dodecameric assembly that is sensitive to the frequency of calcium pulse trains. Neither the structure of the dodecameric assembly nor how it regulates CaMKII are known. We present the crystal structure of an autoinhibited full-length human CaMKII holoenzyme, revealing an unexpected compact arrangement of kinase domains docked against a central hub, with the calmodulin binding sites completely inaccessible. We show that this compact docking is important for the autoinhibition of the kinase domains and for setting the calcium response of the holoenzyme. Comparison of CaMKII isoforms, which differ in the length of the linker between the kinase domain and the hub, demonstrates that these interactions can be strengthened or weakened by changes in linker length. This equilibrium between autoinhibited states provides a simple mechanism for tuning the calcium response without changes in either the hub or the kinase domains.
Calcium/calmodulin (Ca2+/CaM)-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) couples increases in cellular Ca2+ to fundamental responses in excitable cells. CaMKII was identified over twenty years ago by activation dependence on Ca2+/CaM, but recent evidence shows CaMKII activity is also enhanced by pro-oxidant conditions. Here we show that oxidation of paired regulatory domain methionine residues sustains CaMKII activity in the absence of Ca2+/CaM. CaMKII is activated by angiotensin II (AngII) induced oxidation, leading to apoptosis in cardiomyocytes, both in vitro and in vivo. CaMKII oxidation is reversed by methionine sulfoxide reductase A (MsrA), and MsrA−/− mice show exaggerated CaMKII oxidation and myocardial apoptosis, impaired cardiac function, and increased mortality after myocardial infarction. Our data demonstrate a novel, dynamic mechanism for CaMKII activation by oxidation and highlight the critical importance of oxidation-dependent CaMKII activation to AngII and ischemic myocardial apoptosis.
Increases in reactive oxygen species and mis-regulation of calcium homeostasis are associated with various physiological conditions and disease states including aging, ischemia, exposure to drugs of abuse, and neurodegenerative diseases. In aged animals, this is accompanied by a reduction in oxidative repair mechanisms resulting in increased methionine oxidation of the calcium signaling protein calmodulin in the brain. Here, we show that oxidation of calmodulin results in an inability to: 1) activate CaMKII; 2) support Thr286autophosphorylation of CaMKII; 3) prevent Thr305/6autophosphorylation of CaMKII; 4) support binding of CaMKII to the NR2B subunit of the NMDA receptor; 5) compete with α-actinin for binding to CaMKII. Moreover, oxidized calmodulin does not efficiently bind calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) in rat brain lysates or in vitro. These observations contrast from past experiments performed with CaMox and the Plasma Membrane Calcium ATPase, where CaMox binds to, and partially activates the PMCA. When taken together, these data suggest that oxidative stress may perturb neuronal and cardiac function via a decreased ability of oxidized calmodulin to bind, activate, and regulate the interactions of CaMKII.
Calcium (Ca2+)/calmodulin (CaM)-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) activity plays a fundamental role in learning and memory. A key feature of CaMKII in memory formation is its ability to be regulated by autophosphorylation, which switches its activity on and off during synaptic plasticity. The synaptic scaffolding protein CASK (calcium (Ca2+)/calmodulin (CaM) associated serine kinase) is also important for learning and memory, as mutations in CASK result in intellectual disability and neurological defects in humans. We show that in Drosophila larvae, CASK interacts with CaMKII to control neuronal growth and calcium signaling. Furthermore, deletion of the CaMK-like and L27 domains of CASK (CASK β null) or expression of overactive CaMKII (T287D) produced similar effects on synaptic growth and Ca2+ signaling. CASK overexpression rescues the effects of CaMKII overactivity, consistent with the notion that CASK and CaMKII act in a common pathway that controls these neuronal processes. The reduction in Ca2+ signaling observed in the CASK β null mutant caused a decrease in vesicle trafficking at synapses. In addition, the decrease in Ca2+ signaling in CASK mutants was associated with an increase in Ether-à-go-go (EAG) potassium (K+) channel localization to synapses. Reducing EAG restored the decrease in Ca2+ signaling observed in CASK mutants to the level of wildtype, suggesting that CASK regulates Ca2+ signaling via EAG. CASK knockdown reduced both appetitive associative learning and odor evoked Ca2+ responses in Drosophila mushroom bodies, which are the learning centers of Drosophila. Expression of human CASK in Drosophila rescued the effect of CASK deletion on the activity state of CaMKII, suggesting that human CASK may also regulate CaMKII autophosphorylation.
CASK; CaMKII; synaptic function; Drosophila; appetitive learning; calcium imaging; autophosphorylation
Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II is a multifunctional serine/threonine kinase with diverse cardiac roles including regulation of excitation contraction, transcription, and apoptosis. Dynamic regulation of CaMKII activity occurs in cardiac disease and is linked to specific disease phenotypes through its effects on ion channels, transporters, transcription and cell death pathways. Recent mathematical models of the cardiomyocyte have incorporated limited elements of CaMKII signaling to advance our understanding of how CaMKII regulates cardiac contractility and excitability. Given the importance of CaMKII in cardiac disease, it is imperative that computer models evolve to capture the dynamic range of CaMKII activity. In this study, using mathematical modeling combined with biochemical and imaging techniques, we test the hypothesis that CaMKII signaling in the canine infarct border zone (BZ) contributes to impaired calcium homeostasis and electrical remodeling. We report that the level of CaMKII autophosphorylation is significantly increased in the BZ region. Computer simulations using an updated mathematical model of CaMKII signaling reproduce abnormal Ca2+ transients and action potentials characteristic of the BZ. Our simulations show that CaMKII hyperactivity contributes to abnormal Ca2+ homeostasis and reduced action potential upstroke velocity due to effects on INa gating kinetics. In conclusion, we present a new mathematical tool for studying effects of CaMKII signaling on cardiac excitability and contractility over a dynamic range of kinase activities. Our experimental and theoretical findings establish abnormal CaMKII signaling as an important component of remodeling in the canine BZ.
Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II; myocardial infarction; calcium handling; mathematical modeling; arrhythmia
Reduction of transient outward current (Ito) and excessive activation of Ca2+/Calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) are general features of ventricular myocytes in heart failure. We hypothesize that alterations of Ito directly regulate CaMKII activation in cardiomyocytes.
Methods and results
A dynamic coupling of Ito channel subunit Kv4.3 and inactive CaMKII was discovered in cardiomyocytes with the membrane predominant distribution by co-immunoprecipitation and fluorescence resonance energy transfer techniques. CaMKII dissociation from Kv4.3–CaMKII units caused a significant increase in CaMKII autophosphorylation and L-type calcium current (ICa) facilitation. ICa facilitation was blunted by the compartmental Ca2+ chelator BAPTA but unaffected by bulk Ca2+ chelator EGTA, implicating membrane-localized CaMKII. Kv4.3 overexpression reduced basal CaMKII autophosphorylation in myocytes and eliminated Ca2+-induced CaMKII activation. Kv4.3 blocks CaMKII activation by binding to the calmodulin binding sites, whereas Kv4.3 uncoupling releases these sites and leads to a substantial CaMKII activation.
Our results uncovered an important mechanism that regulates CaMKII activation in the heart and implicate Ito channel alteration in pathological CaMKII activation.
Heart failure; CaMKII; Ito channel; Kv4.3; Myocytes
Macrophage apoptosis is a critical process in the formation of necrotic cores in vulnerable atherosclerotic plaques. In-vitro and in-vivo data suggest that macrophage apoptosis in advanced atheromata may be triggered by a combination of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and engagement of the type A scavenger receptor (SRA), which together induce death through a rise in cytosolic calcium and activation of toll-like receptor-4 (TLR4).
Methods and Results
Using both primary peritoneal macrophages and studies in advanced atheromata in vivo, we introduce Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription-1 (STAT1) as a critical and necessary component of ER stress/SRA-induced macrophage apoptosis. We show that STAT1 is serine-phosphorylated in macrophages subjected to SRA ligands and ER stress in a manner requiring cytosolic calcium, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), and TLR4. Remarkably, apoptosis was inhibited by ~80–90% (p < 0.05) by STAT1 deficiency or CaMKII inhibition. In vivo, nuclear Ser-P-STAT1 was found in macrophage-rich regions of advanced murine and human atheromata. Most importantly, macrophage apoptosis was decreased by 61% (p = 0.034) and plaque necrosis by 34% (p = 0.02) in the plaques of fat-fed Ldlr−/− mice transplanted with Stat1−/− bone marrow.
STAT1 is critical for ER stress/SRA-induced apoptosis in primary tissue macrophages and in macrophage apoptosis in advanced atheromata. These findings suggest a potentially important role for STAT1-mediated macrophage apoptosis in atherosclerotic plaque progression.
atherosclerosis; plaque necrosis; macrophage; apoptosis; STAT1
In T lymphocytes, triggering of the T cell receptor (TCR) induces several signaling cascades which ultimately synergize to induce the activity of the nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT), a DNA binding complex critical to the inducibility and T cell specificity of the T cell growth factor interleukin 2. One immediate consequence of T cell activation via the TCR is an increase in cytosolic calcium. Calcium signals are important for NFAT induction, and recent studies have identified calcineurin, a calcium-calmodulin dependent serine- threonine phosphatase, as a prominent component of the calcium signaling pathway in T cells. A second important molecule in TCR signal transduction is the guanine nucleotide binding protein, p21ras, which is coupled to the TCR by a protein tyrosine kinase dependent mechanism. The experiments presented here show that expression by transfection of mutationally activated calcineurin or activated p21ras alone is insufficient for NFAT transactivation. However, coexpression of the activated calcineurin with activated p21ras could mimic TCR signals in NFAT induction. These data identify calcineurin and p21ras as cooperative partners in T cell activation.
β1-adrenergic receptor (β1AR) stimulation activates the classic cAMP/protein kinase A (PKA) pathway to regulate vital cellular processes from the change of gene expression to the control of metabolism, muscle contraction, and cell apoptosis. Here we show that sustained β1AR stimulation promotes cardiac myocyte apoptosis by activation of Ca2+/calmodulin kinase II (CaMKII), independently of PKA signaling. β1AR-induced apoptosis is resistant to inhibition of PKA by a specific peptide inhibitor, PKI14-22, or an inactive cAMP analogue, Rp-8-CPT-cAMPS. In contrast, the β1AR proapoptotic effect is associated with non–PKA-dependent increases in intracellular Ca2+ and CaMKII activity. Blocking the L-type Ca2+ channel, buffering intracellular Ca2+, or inhibiting CaMKII activity fully protects cardiac myocytes against β1AR-induced apoptosis, and overexpressing a cardiac CaMKII isoform, CaMKII-δC, markedly exaggerates the β1AR apoptotic effect. These findings indicate that CaMKII constitutes a novel PKA-independent linkage of β1AR stimulation to cardiomyocyte apoptosis that has been implicated in the overall process of chronic heart failure.
Hyperglycemia-induced vascular cell apoptosis is a seminal early event in diabetic retinopathy. Prolonged hyperglycemia is known to increase intracellular cytosolic free calcium ([Ca2+]i) in retinal vascular endothelial cells (RECs), suggesting that [Ca2+]i is a critical trigger for microvascular degeneration. This study aims to elucidate Ca2+-dependent signaling mechanisms that mediate hyperglycemia-induced apoptosis in RECs.
A cultured macaque choroid-retinal endothelial cell line (RF/6A) was incubated in normal glucose (NG), NG plus the Ca2+ entry blocker 2-aminoethoxydiphenyl borate (2-APB), high glucose (HG), or HG plus either 2-APB, the c-jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) inhibitor SP600125, or the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) inhibitor KN93. Changes in [Ca2+]i evoked by adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP) were measured in fluo-3/AM-loaded RF/6A cells by confocal microscopy. The mitochondrial membrane potential (ΔΨm) and apoptosis were assessed by flow cytometry. Expression levels of CaMKII, phosphorylated CaMKII (p-CaMKII), c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), phosphorylated JNK (p-JNK), the death receptor (Fas), and cytochrome c were detected by western blotting analysis.
Prolonged exposure to HG (96 h) potentiated ATP-evoked Ca2+ entry as well as CaMKII phosphorylation and RF/6A cell apoptosis. Enhanced apoptosis was blocked by 2-APB and KN93. Furthermore, HG increased JNK phosphorylation and Fas expression, and both responses were partially blocked by 2-APB and KN93, while the JNK inhibitor SP600125 partially reduced HG-induced Fas expression. In addition, HG depolarized the ΔΨm and triggered the release of mitochondrial cytochrome c. These early signs of mitochondria-dependent apoptosis were partially reversed by 2-APB and KN93.
HG-induced apoptosis in RF/6A cells depends on Ca2+ entry and CaMKII activation, leading to the activation of both Fas-dependent and mitochondria-dependent apoptosis pathways. The CaMKII−JNK−Fas pathway is involved in HG-evoked apoptosis of RECs.
Calcium is important in controlling nuclear gene expression through the activation of multiple signal-transduction pathways in neurons. Compared with other voltage-gated calcium channels, CaV1 channels demonstrate a considerable advantage in signalling to the nucleus. In this review, we summarize the recent progress in elucidating the mechanisms involved. CaV1 channels, already advantaged in their responsiveness to depolarization, trigger communication with the nucleus by attracting colocalized clusters of activated CaMKII (Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II). CaV2 channels lack this ability, but must work at a distance of >1 μm from the CaV1-CaMKII co-clusters, which hampers their relative efficiency for a given rise in bulk [Ca2+]i (intracellular [Ca2+]). Moreover, Ca2+ influx from CaV2 channels is preferentially buffered by the ER (endoplasmic reticulum) and mitochondria, further attenuating their effectiveness in signalling to the nucleus.
calcium channel; Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII); cAMP response element-binding (CREB); endoplasmic reticulum (ER); gene transcription; mitochondrion; BAPTA, 1,2-bis-(o-aminophenoxy)ethane-N,N,N′,N′-tetra-acetic acid; CaM, calmodulin; CaMKII, Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II; CREB, cAMP response element-binding; ER, endoplasmic reticulum; E–S, excitation–secretion; E–T, excitation–transcription; pCAMKII, autophosphorylated CaMKII; SCG, superior cervical ganglia; SERCA, sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase
Calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is a key mediator of synaptic plasticity and learning. Global pyramidal cell glutamate stimulation induces translocation of CaMKII from dendritic shafts to spines. Here we show that local dendritic stimulation by puffing glutamate onto a region containing 7-32 synapses induces translocation of CaMKII to synapses initially at the puff site, but that translocation subsequently spreads within dendrites to the distal dendrite arbor, resulting in a persistent, widespread synaptic accumulation. This locally-induced propagating synaptic (L-IPS) accumulation of CaMKII requires activation of NMDA receptors and L-type Ca++ channels and is preceded by a Ca++ spike. L-IPS translocation of CaMKII alters biochemical signaling and is associated with an increase in AMPA receptor GluR1 at both stimulated and non-stimulated synapses and thus provides a molecular mechanism for heterosynaptic plasticity.
Pathologic cardiac myocyte hypertrophy is thought to be induced by the persistent increases in intracellular Ca2+ needed to maintain cardiac function when systolic wall stress is increased. Hypertrophic Ca2+ binds to calmodulin (CaM) and activates the phosphatase calcineurin (Cn) and CaM kinase (CaMKII). Cn dephosphorylates cytoplasmic nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT), inducing its translocation to the nucleus where it activates anti-apoptotic and hypertrophic target genes. Cytoplasmic CaMKII regulates Ca2+ handling proteins but whether or not it is directly involved in hypertrophic and survival signaling is not known.
This study explored the hypothesis that cytoplasmic CaMKII reduces NFAT nuclear translocation by inhibiting the phosphatase activity of Cn.
Methods and Results
GFP-tagged NFATc3 was used to determine the cellular location of NFAT in cultured neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVM) and adult feline ventricular myocytes. Constitutively active (CaMKII-CA) or dominant negative (CaMKII-DN) mutants of cytoplasmic targeted CaMKIIδc were used to activate and inhibit cytoplasmic CaMKII activity. In NRVM CaMKII-DN (48.5±3%, P<0.01 vs control) increased while CaMKII-CA decreased (5.9±1%, P<0.01 vs control) NFAT nuclear translocation (Control: 12.3±1%). Cn inhibitors were used to show that these effects were caused by modulation of Cn activity. Increasing Ca2+ increased Cn-dependent NFAT translocation (to 71.7±7%, p<0.01) and CaMKII-CA reduced this effect (to 17.6±4%). CaMKII-CA increased TUNEL and caspase-3 activity (P<0.05). CaMKII directly phosphorylated Cn at Ser197 in CaMKII-CA infected NRVM and in hypertrophied feline hearts.
These data show that activation of cytoplasmic CaMKII inhibits NFAT nuclear translocation by phosphorylation and subsequent inhibition of Cn.
CaMKII; Calcineurin; NFAT; Myocytes; Heart Disease
Female vertebrates are endowed during development with a stockpile of oocytes that is gradually depleted over the organism’s lifetime through the process of apoptosis. The timer that triggers this cell death has yet to be identified. Here, using the ease of biochemical manipulation afforded by Xenopus eggs and oocytes, we examine the hypothesis that nutrient stores of the oocyte can regulate oocyte viability. We show that pentose phosphate pathway generation of NADPH is critical for oocyte survival and that the target of this regulation is caspase 2, previously shown to regulate oocyte death in mice. Pentose phosphate pathway-mediated inhibition of cell death resulted from the inhibitory phosphorylation of caspase 2 by Calcium calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII). A mutant of caspase 2 able to escape CaMKII phosphorylation overrode this inhibition of apoptosis. These data suggest that exhaustion of oocyte nutrients, resulting in an inability to generate NADPH, may contribute to ooctye depletion. These data also provide unexpected links between oocyte metabolism, CaMKII and caspase 2.
Transcription factors of the NFAT (nuclear factor of activated T cells) family are expressed in most immune system cells and in a range of other cell types. Signaling through NFAT is implicated in the regulation of transcription for the immune response and other processes, including differentiation and apoptosis. NFAT normally resides in the cytoplasm, and a key aspect of the NFAT activation pathway is the regulation of its nuclear import by the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent phosphatase calcineurin. In a cell line stably expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP)-NFAT, this import can be triggered by elevation of intracellular calcium and visualized in live cells. Here we show that the inducible nuclear import of GFP-NFAT is efficiently blocked at early stages of herpes simplex virus (HSV) infection. This is a specific effect, since we observed abundant nuclear accumulation of a test viral protein and no impediment to general nuclear localization signal-dependent nuclear import and retention in infected cells. We show that virus binding at the cell surface is not itself sufficient to inhibit the signaling that induces NFAT nuclear translocation. Since the block occurs following infection in the presence of phosphonoacetic acid but not cycloheximide, we infer that the entry of the virion and early gene transcription are required but the effect is independent of DNA replication or late virus gene expression. A consequence of the block to GFP-NFAT import is a reduction in NFAT-dependent transcriptional activation from the interleukin-2 promoter in infected cells. This HSV-mediated repression of the NFAT pathway may constitute an immune evasion strategy or subversion of other NFAT-dependent cellular processes to promote viral replication.
CARMA1 is a central regulator of NF-κB activation in lymphocytes. CARMA1 and Bcl10 functionally interact and control NF-κB signaling downstream of the T-cell receptor (TCR). Computational analysis of expression neighborhoods of CARMA1-Bcl10MALT 1 for enrichment in kinases identified calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) as an important component of this pathway. Here we report that Ca2+/CaMKII is redistributed to the immune synapse following T-cell activation and that CaMKII is critical for NF-κB activation induced by TCR stimulation. Furthermore, CaMKII enhances CARMA1-induced NF-κB activation. Moreover, we have shown that CaMKII phosphorylates CARMA1 on Ser109 and that the phosphorylation facilitates the interaction between CARMA1 and Bcl10. These results provide a novel function for CaMKII in TCR signaling and CARMA1-induced NF-κB activation.
β-Arrestin functions as a scaffold for CaMKII and the Rap guanine nucleotide exchange factor Epac to regulate signaling from β1-ARs.
Ca2+/calmodulin kinase II (CaMKII) plays an important role in cardiac contractility and the development of heart failure. Although stimulation of β1–adrenergic receptors (ARs) leads to an increase in CaMKII activity, the molecular mechanism by which β1-ARs activate CaMKII is not completely understood. In this study, we show the requirement for the β1-AR regulatory protein β-arrestin as a scaffold for both CaMKII and Epac (exchange protein directly activated by cAMP). Stimulation of β1-ARs induces the formation of a β-arrestin–CaMKII–Epac1 complex, allowing its recruitment to the plasma membrane, whereby interaction with cAMP leads to CaMKII activation. β-Arrestin binding to the carboxyl-terminal tail of β1-ARs promotes a conformational change within β-arrestin that allows CaMKII and Epac to remain in a stable complex with the receptor. The essential role for β-arrestin and identification of the molecular mechanism by which only β1-ARs and not β2-ARs activate CaMKII significantly advances our understanding of this important cellular pathway.
Synaptic plasticity, neuronal activity-dependent sustained alteration of the efficacy of synaptic transmission, underlies learning and memory. Activation of positive-feedback signaling pathways by an increase in intracellular Ca2+ concentration ([Ca2+]i) has been implicated in synaptic plasticity. However, the mechanism that determines the [Ca2+]i threshold for inducing synaptic plasticity is elusive. Here, we developed a kinetic simulation model of inhibitory synaptic plasticity in the cerebellum, and systematically analyzed the behavior of intricate molecular networks composed of protein kinases, phosphatases, etc. The simulation showed that Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), which is essential for the induction of synaptic plasticity, was persistently activated or suppressed in response to different combinations of stimuli. The sustained CaMKII activation depended on synergistic actions of two positive-feedback reactions, CaMKII autophosphorylation and CaMKII-mediated inhibition of a CaM-dependent phosphodiesterase, PDE1. The simulation predicted that PDE1-mediated feedforward inhibition of CaMKII predominantly controls the Ca2+ threshold, which was confirmed by electrophysiological experiments in primary cerebellar cultures. Thus, combined application of simulation and experiments revealed that the Ca2+ threshold for the cerebellar inhibitory synaptic plasticity is primarily determined by PDE1.
Ca2+ threshold; computer simulation; PDE1; Purkinje neuron; synaptic plasticity
Calcium entry and the subsequent activation of CaMKII trigger synaptic plasticity in many brain regions. The induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) in the CA1 region of the hippocampus requires a relatively high amount of calcium-calmodulin. This requirement is usually explained, based on in vitro and theoretical studies, by the low affinity of CaMKII for calmodulin. An untested hypothesis, however, is that calmodulin is not randomly distributed within the spine and its targeting within the spine regulates LTP. We have previously shown that overexpression of neurogranin enhances synaptic strength in a calmodulin-dependent manner. Here, using post-embedding immunogold labeling, we show that calmodulin is not randomly distributed, but spatially organized in the spine. Moreover, neurogranin regulates calmodulin distribution such that its overexpression concentrates calmodulin closer to the plasma membrane, where a high level of CaMKII immunogold labeling is also found. Interestingly, the targeting of calmodulin by neurogranin results in lowering the threshold for LTP induction. These findings highlight the significance of calmodulin targeting within the spine in synaptic plasticity.
NMDA receptor dependent long-term potentiation (LTP) and long-term depression (LTD) are two prominent forms of synaptic plasticity, both of which are triggered by post-synaptic calcium elevation. To understand how calcium selectively stimulates two opposing processes, we developed a detailed computational model and performed simulations with different calcium input frequencies, amplitudes, and durations. We show that with a total amount of calcium ions kept constant, high frequencies of calcium pulses stimulate calmodulin more efficiently. Calcium input activates both calcineurin and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) at all frequencies, but increased frequencies shift the relative activation from calcineurin to CaMKII. Irrespective of amplitude and duration of the inputs, the total amount of calcium ions injected adjusts the sensitivity of the system to calcium input frequencies. At a given frequency, the quantity of CaMKII activated is proportional to the total amount of calcium. Thus, an input of a small amount of calcium at high frequencies can induce the same activation of CaMKII as a larger amount, at lower frequencies. Finally, the extent of activation of CaMKII signals with high calcium frequency is further controlled by other factors, including the availability of calmodulin, and by the potency of phosphatase inhibitors.
The neuropeptide, calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) has been proposed to be a regulator of the development of morphine analgesic tolerance and thereby could be a target to reduce the induction of this phenomenon under clinical conditions. However, the mechanisms of CGRP regulation are unclear. We investigated here the possible role of the extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK), p38 and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) in CGRP regulation following chronic morphine treatment.
A 7-day treatment with morphine (15 μg/day) led to an increase in CGRP contents in the spinal cord dorsal horn (SCDH) and dorsal root ganglion (DRG) and this effect was prevented by the inhibition of the ERK, p38 or CaMKII pathway. The phosphorylation/activation of ERK, p38 and CaMKII was enhanced in the SCDH following chronic morphine while in DRG only the phosphorylation of CaMKII was increased. Moreover, our chronic morphine treatment up-regulated neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) levels in the SCDH, an effect blocked by the inhibition of the ERK, p38 or CaMKII pathway. The blockade of nNOS activity also suppressed chronic morphine-induced CGRP increases in the DRG and SCDH. Double immunofluorescence studies revealed that nNOS and CaMKII are co-localized in the SCDH and that CaMKII is activated in CGRP-expressing DRG neurons.
The activation of spinal ERK, p38 and CaMKII, alongside nNOS, is involved in chronic morphine-induced CGRP up-regulation in both the DRG and SCDH. Moreover, the stimulation of CaMKII in the DRG likely directly regulates the expression of CGRP associated with morphine analgesic tolerance.
CGRP; ERK; p38; CaMKII; morphine