The Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase type IV/Gr (CaMKIV/Gr) is a key effector of neuronal Ca(2+) signaling; its function was analyzed by targeted gene disruption in mice. CaMKIV/Gr-deficient mice exhibited impaired neuronal cAMP-responsive element binding protein (CREB) phosphorylation and Ca(2+)/CREB-dependent gene expression. They were also deficient in two forms of synaptic plasticity: long-term potentiation (LTP) in hippocampal CA1 neurons and a late phase of long-term depression in cerebellar Purkinje neurons. However, despite impaired LTP and CREB activation, CaMKIV/Gr-deficient mice exhibited no obvious deficits in spatial learning and memory. These results support an important role for CaMKIV/Gr in Ca(2+)-regulated neuronal gene transcription and synaptic plasticity and suggest that the contribution of other signaling pathways may spare spatial memory of CaMKIV/Gr-deficient mice.
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