Temporal and Region-Specific Requirements of alpha CaMKII in Spatial and Contextual Learning

Katie Achterberg, Gabriëlle Buitendijk, Martijn Kool, Susanna Goorden, Laura Post, Denise Slump, AJ Silva, Geeske van Woerden, Steven Kushner, Ype Elgersma

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33 Citations (Scopus)


The alpha isoform of the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (alpha CaMKII) has been implicated extensively in molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying spatial and contextual learning in a wide variety of species. Germline deletion of Camk2a leads to severe deficits in spatial and contextual learning in mice. However, the temporal and region-specific requirements for alpha CaMKII have remained largely unexplored. Here, we generated conditional Camk2a mutants to examine the influence of spatially restricted and temporally controlled expression of alpha CaMKII. Forebrain-specific deletion of the Camk2a gene resulted in severe deficits in water maze and contextual fear learning, whereas mice with deletion restricted to the cerebellum learned normally. Furthermore, we found that temporally controlled deletion of the Camk2a gene in adult mice is as detrimental as germline deletion for learning and synaptic plasticity. Together, we confirm the requirement for alpha CaMKII in the forebrain, but not the cerebellum, in spatial and contextual learning. Moreover, we highlight the absolute requirement for intact alpha CaMKII expression at the time of learning.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)11180-11187
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number34
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Research programs

  • EMC ONWAR-01-58-02
  • EMC ONWAR-01-94-01

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