Editors' ChoiceNeurobiology

Regulation of Synaptic Transmission by Cdk5

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Science's STKE  30 Oct 2001:
Vol. 2001, Issue 106, pp. tw405
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2001.106.tw405

The N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors are heteromeric complexes, consisting of NR1 and NR2 type subunits. Their activation allows an influx of calcium into postsynaptic neurons, which is crucial to inducing learning and memory. A number of different kinases phosphorylate NMDA receptor subunits, and Li et al. now add cyclin-dependent kinase-5 (Cdk5) to this list. Cdk5 is a serine-threonine kinase expressed in neuronal cells. It phosphorylated a specific serine residue of the NR2A subunit in vitro, and a Cdk5-NR2A complex was isolated from cerebral cortex tissue. Neurons from mice lacking Cdk5 had decreased phosphorylated NR2A, a subunit that has been implicated in long-term potentiation (LTP). Inhibition of Cdk5 in normal rat hippocampal neurons also blocked LTP induction.

B.-S. Li, M.-K. Sun, L. Zhang, S. Takahashi, W. Ma, L. Vinade, A. B. Kulkarni, R. O. Brady, H. C. Pant, Regulation of NMDA receptors by cyclin-dependent kinase-5. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 98, 12742-12747 (2001) [Abstract] [Full Text]