CaMKII inhibition promotes neuronal apoptosis by transcriptionally upregulating Bim expression

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The effects of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) on neuronal apoptosis are complex and contradictory, and the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. Bcl-2-interacting mediator of cell death (Bim) is an important proapoptotic protein under many physiological and pathophysiological conditions. However, there is no evidence that CaMKII and Bim are mechanistically linked in neuronal apoptosis. In this study, we showed that CaMKII inhibition by the inhibitors KN-62 and myristoylated autocamtide-2-related inhibitory peptide promoted apoptosis in cerebellar granule neurons in a dose-dependent manner. CaMKII inhibition increased Bim protein and messenger RNA levels. The expression of early growth response factor-1, a transcription factor of Bim, was also induced by CaMKII inhibitors. These data suggested that CaMKII repressed the transcriptional expression of Bim. Moreover, knockdown of Bim using small interfering RNAs attenuated the proapoptotic effects of CaMKII inhibition. Taken together, this is the first report to show that CaMKII inhibition transcriptionally upregulates Bim expression to promote neuronal apoptosis, providing new insights into the proapoptotic mechanism of CaMKII inhibition.

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