Autophosphorylated CaMKII facilitates spike propagation in rat optic nerve

Gloria J. Partida, Anna Fasoli, Alex Fogli Iseppe, Genki Ogata, Jeffrey S. Johnson, Vithya Thambiaiyah, Christopher L. Passaglia, Andrew Ishida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Repeated spike firing can transmit information at synapses and modulate spike timing, shape, and conduction velocity. These latter effects have been found to result from voltage-induced changes in ion currents and could alter the signals carried by axons. Here, we test whether Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) regulates spike propagation in adult rat optic nerve. We find that small-, medium-, and large-diameter axons bind anti-Thr286-phosphorylated CaMKII (pT286) antibodies and that, in isolated optic nerves, electrical stimulation reduces pT286 levels, spike propagation is hastened by CaMKII autophosphorylation and slowed by CaMKII dephosphorylation, single and multiple spikes slow propagation of subsequently activated spikes, and more frequent stimulation produces greater slowing. Likewise, exposing freely moving animals to flickering illumination reduces pT286 levels in optic nerves and electrically eliciting spikes in vivo in either the optic nerve or optic chiasm slows subsequent spike propagation in the optic nerve. By increasing the time that elapses between successive spikes as they propagate, pT286 dephosphorylation and activity-induced spike slowing reduce the frequency of propagated spikes below the frequency at which they were elicited and would thus limit the frequency at which axons synaptically drive target neurons. Consistent with this, the ability of retinal ganglion cells to drive at least some lateral geniculate neurons has been found to increase when presented with light flashes at low and moderate temporal frequencies but less so at high frequencies. Activity-induced decreases in spike frequency may also reduce the energy required to maintain normal intracellular Na+ and Ca2+ levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8087-8105
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 12 2018


  • CaMKII
  • Conduction velocity
  • Interspike interval
  • Optic nerve
  • Retino-geniculate synapse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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