Apparently redundant members of the calmodulin (CaM) gene family encode for the same amino acid sequence. CaM, a ubiquitous cytoplasmic calcium ion receptor, regulates the function of a variety of target molecules even in a single cell. Maintenance of the fidelity of the active CaM-target interactions in different compartments of the cell requires a rather complex control of the total cellular CaM pool comprising multiple levels of regulatory circuits. Among these mechanisms, it has long been proposed that a multigene family maximizes the regulatory potentials at the level of the gene expression. CaM genes are expressed at a particularly profound level in the mammalian central nervous system (CNS), especially in the highly polarized neurons. Thus, in the search for clear evidence of the suggested differential expression of the CaM genes, much of the research has been focused on the elements of the CNS. This review aims to give a comprehensive survey on the current understanding of this field at the level of the regulation of CaM mRNA transcription and distribution in the rodent brain. The results indicate that the CaM genes are indeed expressed in a gene-specific manner in the developing and adult brain under physiological conditions. To establish local CaM pools in distant intracellular compartments (dendrites and glial processes), local protein synthesis from differentially targeted mRNAs is also employed. Moreover, the CaM genes are controlled in a unique, gene-specific fashion when responding to certain external stimuli. Additionally, putative regulatory elements have been identified on the CaM genes and mRNAs.
- Gene expression
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)