Multiplexed dendritic targeting of alpha calcium calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II, neurogranin, and activity-regulated cytoskeleton-associated protein RNAs by the A2 pathway.
In situ hybridization histochemistry has revealed a diffuse distribution of the alpha subunit of type II calcium calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaM II kinase alpha) mRNA in the neuropil of regions containing CaM II kinase alpha-expressing cells and has led some to propose that it may be expressed in dendrites. In order to determine if CaM II kinase alpha mRNA is expressed in dendrites and if the gene encoding CaM II kinase alpha is regulated in response to synaptic reinnervation, we examined its expression in the hippocampus of normal rats, of rats that had received a unilateral injection of kainic acid and of rats with a unilateral entorhinal cortex lesion. The relatively specific elimination of the CA3 pyramidal cells by kainate lesions precisely correlated with the loss of CaM II kinase alpha cRNA hybridization in the stratum radiatum as well as the stratum pyramidale. Following entorhinal cortex lesions, during the period of new synapse formation in the dentate gyrus, there was no detectable change in the level of CaM II kinase alpha gene expression. These data suggest that CaM II kinase alpha mRNA is expressed in the dendrites of hippocampal pyramidal cells and, therefore, is likely to be expressed in dendrites in other regions of the central nervous system exhibiting CaM II kinase alpha cRNA labeling in the neuropil. However, changes in expression were not found to accompany new synapse formation.