The EMBO journal

CaMKII-dependent phosphorylation of GluK5 mediates plasticity of kainate receptors.

PMID 23288040


Calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) is key for long-term potentiation of synaptic AMPA receptors. Whether CaMKII is involved in activity-dependent plasticity of other ionotropic glutamate receptors is unknown. We show that repeated pairing of pre- and postsynaptic stimulation at hippocampal mossy fibre synapses induces long-term depression of kainate receptor (KAR)-mediated responses, which depends on Ca(2+) influx, activation of CaMKII, and on the GluK5 subunit of KARs. CaMKII phosphorylation of three residues in the C-terminal domain of GluK5 subunit markedly increases lateral mobility of KARs, possibly by decreasing the binding of GluK5 to PSD-95. CaMKII activation also promotes surface expression of KARs at extrasynaptic sites, but concomitantly decreases its synaptic content. Using a molecular replacement strategy, we demonstrate that the direct phosphorylation of GluK5 by CaMKII is necessary for KAR-LTD. We propose that CaMKII-dependent phosphorylation of GluK5 is responsible for synaptic depression by untrapping of KARs from the PSD and increased diffusion away from synaptic sites.