Calcium/Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase II Is Associated with NR2A/B Subunits of NMDA Receptor in Postsynaptic Densities

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NMDA receptors and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) have been reported to be highly concentrated in the postsynaptic density (PSD). Although the possibility that CaMKII in PSD might be associated with specific proteins has been put forward, the protein or proteins determining the targeting of the kinase in PSD have not yet been identified. Here we report that CaMKII binds to NR2A and NR2B subunits of NMDA receptors in PSD isolated from cortex and hippocampus. The association of NMDA receptor subunits and CaMKII was assessed by immunoprecipitating PSD proteins with antibodies specific for NR2A/B and CaMKII: CaMKII coprecipitated with NR2A/B and NR1 but not with other glutamate ionotropic receptor subunits, such as GluR1 and GluR2-3. A direct association between CaMKII and NR2A/B subunits was further confirmed by overlay experiments using either 32P-autophosphorylated CaMKII or 32P-NR2A/B and by evaluating the formation of a CaMKII-NR2A/B complex by means of the cross-linker disuccimidyl suberate. These data demonstrate an association between the NMDA receptor complex and CaMKII in the postsynaptic compartment, suggesting that this colocalization may be relevant for synaptic plasticity.

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