Alpha-subunit of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II enhances gamma-aminobutyric acid and inhibitory synaptic responses of rat neurons in vitro

R. A. Wang, G. Cheng, M. Kolaj, M. Randic


1. Here we report that in acutely isolated rat spinal dorsal horn neurons, the gamma-aminobutyric acid-A (GABAA) receptor can be regulated by calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaM-KII). Intracellularly applied, the alpha-subunit of CaM-KII enhanced GABAA-receptor-activated current recorded with the use of the whole cell patch-clamp technique. This effect was associated with reduced desensitization of GABA responses. 2. GABA-induced currents are also potentiated by calyculin A, an inhibitor of protein phosphatases 1 and 2A. 3. Conventional intracellular recordings were made from hippocampal CA1 neurons in slices to determine the effect of intracellular application of CaM-KII on inhibitory synaptic potentials evoked by electrical stimulation of the stratum oriens/alveus. The inhibitory synaptic potential was enhanced by CaM-KII; this mechanism may contribute to long-term enhancement of inhibitory synaptic transmission and may also play a role in other forms of plasticity in the mammalian brain.