Cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (Cdk5) is a serine/threonine kinase with a multitude of functions. Although Cdk5 is widely expressed, it has been studied most extensively in neurons. Since its initial characterization, the fundamental contribution of Cdk5 to an impressive range of neuronal processes has become clear. These phenomena include neural development, dopaminergic function and neurodegeneration. Data from different fields have recently converged to provide evidence for the participation of Cdk5 in synaptic plasticity, learning and memory. In this review, we consider recent data implicating Cdk5 in molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying synaptic plasticity. We relate these findings to its emerging role in learning and memory. Particular attention is paid to the activation of Cdk5 by p25, which enhances hippocampal synaptic plasticity and memory, and suggests formation of p25 as a physiological process regulating synaptic plasticity and memory.
- Cyclin-dependent kinase 5
- Long-term potentiation
- Transgenic mouse
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience