The roles of calmodulin and camkii in cx36 plasticity

Georg R. Zoidl, David C. Spray

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Anatomical and electrophysiological evidence that gap junctions and electrical coupling occur between neurons was initially confined to invertebrates and nonmammals and was thought to be a primitive form of synaptic transmission. More recent studies revealed that electrical communication is common in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS), often coexisting with chemical synaptic transmission. The subsequent progress indicated that electrical synapses formed by the gap junction protein connexin-36 (Cx36) and its paralogs in nonmammals constitute vital elements in mammalian and fish synaptic circuitry. They govern the collective activity of ensembles of coupled neurons, and Cx36 gap junctions endow them with enormous adaptive plasticity, like that seen at chemical synapses. Moreover, they orchestrate the synchronized neuronal network activity and rhythmic oscillations that underlie the fundamental integrative processes, such as memory and learning. Here, we review the available mechanistic evidence and models that argue for the essential roles of calcium, calmodulin, and the Ca2+ /calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II in integrating calcium signals to modulate the strength of electrical synapses through interactions with the gap junction protein Cx36.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4473
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2021


  • CaMKII
  • Calcium
  • Calmodulin
  • Connexin-36 (Cx36)
  • Electrical synapse
  • Plasticity
  • Tubulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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