Calcium/Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase II

Andy Hudmon, H. Schulman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is a multifunctional serine/threonine protein kinase that phosphorylates a diverse array of substrates in response to a rise in free calcium (Ca2+) induced by electrical activity, neurotransmitters, hormones, and other signaling molecules. In cardiomyocytes, CaMKII functions to tune gene expression and the Ca2+ signaling machinery in response to myocyte activity and hormones. In neurons, CaMKII regulates Ca2+-dependent processes central to neuronal communication, including neurotransmitter synthesis and release and ion flux through voltage and ligand-gated channels. CaMKII is regulated by autophosphorylation, which is considered a form of molecular memory as it generates persistently active (autonomous) kinase whose activity is temporally uncoupled from the Ca2+ signal. This process also permits CaMKII to translate cellular activity into graded levels of kinase activity based on the frequency of Ca2+ stimuli. These emergent properties underlie its function as a cognitive kinase with both short- and long-term consequences on complex behaviors, such as learning and memory. In heart, this may enable it to decode heart rate and coordinate physiological changes, such as the 'fight or flight' response, by modulation of many substrates involved in Ca2+ signaling and homeostasis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Biological Chemistry
Subtitle of host publicationSecond Edition
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)9780123786319
ISBN (Print)9780123786302
StatePublished - Feb 15 2013


  • Autophosphorylation
  • Brain
  • Calcium
  • Calmodulin
  • Frequency
  • LTP
  • Memory
  • Protein kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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  • Cite this

    Hudmon, A., & Schulman, H. (2013). Calcium/Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase II. In Encyclopedia of Biological Chemistry: Second Edition (pp. 297-303). Elsevier Inc..