Differential expression of CaMKII isoforms and overall kinase activity in rat dorsal root ganglia after injury

M. L.Y. Bangaru, J. Meng, D. J. Kaiser, H. Yu, G. Fischer, Q. H. Hogan, A. Hudmon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

15 Scopus citations


Ca<sup>2+</sup>/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) decodes neuronal activity by translating cytoplasmic Ca<sup>2+</sup> signals into kinase activity that regulates neuronal functions including excitability, gene expression, and synaptic transmission. Four genes lead to developmental and differential expression of CaMKII isoforms (α, β, γ, δ). We determined mRNA levels of these isoforms in the dorsal root ganglia (DRG) of adult rats with and without nerve injury in order to determine if differential expression of CaMKII isoforms may contribute to functional differences that follow injury. DRG neurons express mRNA for all four isoforms, and the relative abundance of CaMKII isoforms was γ > α > β=δ, based on the C<inf>T</inf> values. Following ligation of the 5th lumbar (L5) spinal nerve (SNL), the β isoform did not change, but mRNA levels of both the γ and α isoforms were reduced in the directly injured L5 neurons, and the α isoform was reduced in L4 neurons, compared to their contemporary controls. In contrast, expression of the δ isoform mRNA increased in L5 neurons. CaMKII protein decreased following nerve injury in both L4 and L5 populations. Total CaMKII activity measured under saturating Ca<sup>2+</sup>/CaM conditions was decreased in both L4 and L5 populations, while autonomous CaMKII activity determined in the absence of Ca<sup>2+</sup> was selectively reduced in axotomized L5 neurons 21days after injury. Thus, loss of CaMKII signaling in sensory neurons after peripheral nerve injury may contribute to neuronal dysfunction and pain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)116-127
Number of pages12
StatePublished - Aug 6 2015


  • Ca<sup>2+</sup> signaling
  • CaMKII
  • Nerve injury
  • Neuropathic pain
  • Sensory neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Differential expression of CaMKII isoforms and overall kinase activity in rat dorsal root ganglia after injury'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this