The many variants of human Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) differ in the lengths and sequences of disordered linkers connecting the kinase domains to the oligomeric hub of the holoenzyme. CaMKII activity depends on the balance between activating and inhibitory autophosphorylation (on Thr 286 and Thr 305/306, respectively, in the human a isoform). Variation in the linkers could alter transphosphorylation rates within a holoenzyme and the balance of autophosphorylation outcomes. We show, using mammalian-cell expression and a single-molecule assay, that the balance of autophosphorylation is flipped between CaMKII variants with longer and shorter linkers. For the principal isoforms in the brain, CaMKII-a, with a ~30 residue linker, readily acquires activating autophosphorylation, while CaMKII-b, with a ~200 residue linker, is biased towards inhibitory autophosphorylation. Our results show how the responsiveness of CaMKII holoenzymes to calcium signals can be tuned by varying the relative levels of isoforms with long and short linkers.
- Moitrayee Bhattacharyya
- John Kuriyan
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Tony Hunter, Salk Institute for Biological Studies, United States
© 2020, Bhattacharyya et al.
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