The δB and δC splice variants of Ca 2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), which differ by the presence of a nuclear localization sequence, are both expressed in cardiomyocytes. We used transgenic (TG) mice and CaMKII expression in cardiomyocytes to test the hypothesis that the CaMKIIδC isoform regulates cytosolic Ca2+ handling and the δB isoform, which localizes to the nucleus, regulates gene transcription. Phosphorylation of CaMKII sites on the ryanodine receptor (RyR) and on phospholamban (PLB) were increased in CaMKIIδC TG. This was associated with markedly enhanced sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ spark frequency and decreased SR Ca2+ content in cardiomyocytes. None of these parameters were altered in TG mice expressing the nuclear-targeted CaMKIIδB. In contrast, cardiac expression of either CaMKIIδB or δC induced transactivation of myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) gene expression and up-regulated hypertrophic marker genes. Studies using rat ventricular cardiomyocytes confirmed that CaMKIIδB and δC both regulate MEF2-luciferase gene expression, increase histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) association with 14-3-3, and induce HDAC4 translocation from nucleus to cytoplasm, indicating that either isoform can stimulate HDAC4 phosphorylation. Finally, HDAC4 kinase activity was shown to be increased in cardiac homogenates from either CaMKIIδB or δC TG mice. Thus CaMKIIδ isoforms have similar effects on hypertrophic gene expression but disparate effects on Ca2+ handling, suggesting distinct roles for CaMKIIδ isoform activation in the pathogenesis of cardiac hypertrophy versus heart failure.
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