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Published December 1985 | Published
Journal Article Open

Regional distribution of type II Ca^(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase in rat brain


The distribution of type II Ca^(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase has been mapped in rat brain by immunochemical and immunohistochemical methods using an antibody against its alpha-subunit. The concentration of the kinase, measured by radioimmunoassay, varies markedly in different brain regions. It is most highly concentrated in the telencephalon where it comprises approximately 2% of the total hippocampal protein, 1.3% of cortical protein, and 0.7% of striatal protein. It is less concentrated in lower brain structures, ranging from about 0.3% of hypothalamic protein to 0.1% of protein in the pons/medulla. The gradient of staining intensity observed in brain sections by immunohistochemistry corroborates this distribution. Neurons and neuropil of the hippocampus are densely stained, whereas little staining is observed in lower brain regions such as the superior colliculus. Within the diencephalon and midbrain, dense staining is observed only in thalamic nuclei and the substantia nigra. The skewed distribution of alpha-subunit appears to be due in part to the occurrence in the cerebellum and pons/medulla of forms of the kinase with a high ratio of beta- to alpha-subunits. However, most of the variation is due to the extremely high concentration of the kinase in particular neurons, especially those of the hippocampus, cortex and striatum. The unusually high expression of the kinase in these neurons is likely to confer upon them specialized responses to calcium ion that are different from those of neurons in lower brain regions.

Additional Information

© 1985 by Society for Neuroscience. This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant NS- 17660, the Pew Fund, the Gustavus and Louise Pfeiffer Research Foundation, and a Gordon Ross fellowship to N. E. E. We thank Venise Radice and Valerie Krieger for technical assistance, Drs. Ted Jones and Stewart Hendry for help with immunocytochemistry, and Caren Oto and Laura Rodriguez for help with the manuscript

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August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023