Among multifunctional Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases (CaMKs), CaMKI has been shown to comprise a family of four structurally related isoforms (α, β, γ, and δ) encoded by separate genes with abundant expression in mature brain. In this study, we first examined the developmental gene expression of the four isoforms of CaMKI in mouse brain with special attention to the hippocampal formation by in situ hybridization analysis. The four isoforms of CaMKI were found to exhibit distinct spatiotemporal expression during neuronal development. We also examined the functional involvement of CaMKI in the dendritic formation of cultured hippocampal neurons. The overexpression of kinase-dead mutants of CaMKI reduced the average dendritic length of the transfected neurons without any significant effects on the number of primary dendrites and the branching index. Our present findings provide the detailed anatomical information on the developmental expression of the four isoforms of CaMKI in mouse brain, which represents the possible functional involvement of CaMKI in the basal dendritic growth of hippocampal neurons.
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