Contribution of Ca2+ calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase to neural activity-induced neurite outgrowth and survival of cerebellar granule cells

Laura N Borodinsky, Omar A. Coso, Mónica L. Fiszman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

40 Scopus citations


In this report we describe our studies on intracellular signals that mediate neurite outgrowth and long-term survival of cerebellar granule cells. The effect of voltage-gated calcium channel activation on neurite complexity was evaluated in cultured cerebellar granule cells grown for 48 h at low density; the parameter measured was the fractal dimension of the cell. We explored the contribution of two intracellular pathways, Ca2+ calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK1), to the effects of high [K+]e under serum-free conditions. We found that 25 mM KCI (25K) induced an increase in calcium influx through L subtype channels. In neurones grown for 24-48 h under low-density conditions, the activation of these channels induced neurite outgrowth through the activation of Ca2+ calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II. This also produced an increase in long-term neuronal survival with a partial contribution from the MEK1 pathway. We also found that the addition of 25K increased the levels of the phosphorylated forms of Ca2+ calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II and of the extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2. Neuronal survival under resting conditions is supported by the MEK1 pathway. We conclude that intracellular calcium oscillations can triggered different biological effects depending on the stage of maturation of the neuronal phenotype. Ca2+ calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II activation determines the growth of neurites and the development of neuronal complexity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1062-1070
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes



  • CaMKII and MEK1 pathways
  • Cerebellar granule cells
  • Fractal dimension
  • Neural activity
  • Neurite outgrowth
  • Neuronal survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

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