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The activation of neuronal plasma membrane Ca2+ channels stimulates many intracellular responses. Scaffolding proteins can preferentially couple specific Ca2+ channels to distinct downstream outputs, such as increased gene expression, but the molecular mechanisms that underlie the exquisite specificity of these signaling pathways are incompletely understood. Here, we show that complexes containing CaMKII and Shank3, a postsynaptic scaffolding protein known to interact with L-type calcium channels (LTCCs), can be specifically coimmunoprecipitated from mouse forebrain extracts. Activated purified CaMKIIα also directly binds Shank3 between residues 829 and 1130. Mutation of Shank3 residues 949Arg-Arg-Lys951 to three alanines disrupts CaMKII binding in vitro and CaMKII association with Shank3 in heterologous cells. Our shRNA/rescue studies revealed that Shank3 binding to both CaMKII and LTCCs is important for increased phosphorylation of the nuclear CREB transcription factor and expression of c-Fos induced by depolarization of cultured hippocampal neurons. Thus, this novel CaMKII-Shank3 interaction is essential for the initiation of a specific long-range signal from LTCCs in the plasma membrane to the nucleus that is required for activity-dependent changes in neuronal gene expression during learning and memory.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Precise neuronal expression of genes is essential for normal brain function. Proteins involved in signaling pathways that underlie activity-dependent gene expression, such as CaMKII, Shank3, and L-type calcium channels, are often mutated in multiple neuropsychiatric disorders. Shank3 and CaMKII were previously shown to bind L-type calcium channels, and we show here that Shank3 also binds to CaMKII. Our data show that each of these interactions is required for depolarization-induced phosphorylation of the CREB nuclear transcription factor, which stimulates the expression of c-Fos, a neuronal immediate early gene with key roles in synaptic plasticity, brain development, and behavior. Copyright © 2020 the authors.


Tyler L Perfitt, Xiaohan Wang, Matthew T Dickerson, Jason R Stephenson, Terunaga Nakagawa, David A Jacobson, Roger J Colbran. Neuronal L-Type Calcium Channel Signaling to the Nucleus Requires a Novel CaMKIIα-Shank3 Interaction. The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 2020 Mar 04;40(10):2000-2014

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PMID: 32019829

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