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Localization of the A kinase anchoring protein AKAP79 in the human hippocampus


: Professor Tamás F. Freund, as above.


The phosphorylation state of the proteins, regulated by phosphatases and kinases, plays an important role in signal transduction and long-term changes in neuronal excitability. In neurons, cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), protein kinase C (PKC) and calcineurin (CN) are attached to a scaffold protein, A kinase anchoring protein (AKAP), thought to anchor these three enzymes to specific sites of action. However, the localization of AKAP, and the predicted sites of linked phosphatase and kinase activities, are still unknown at the fine structural level. In the present study, we investigated the distribution of AKAP79 in the hippocampus from postmortem human brains and lobectomy samples from patients with intractable epilepsy, using preembedding immunoperoxidase and immunogold histochemical methods. AKAP79 was found in the CA1, presubicular and subicular regions, mostly in pyramidal cell dendrites, whereas pyramidal cells in the CA3, CA2 regions and dentate granule cells were negative both in postmortem and in surgical samples. In some epileptic cases, the dentate molecular layer and hilar interneurons also became immunoreactive. At the subcellular level, AKAP79 immunoreactivity was present in postsynaptic profiles near, but not attached to, the postsynaptic density of asymmetrical (presumed excitatory) synapses. We conclude that the spatial selectivity for the action of certain kinases and phosphatases regulating various ligand- and voltage-gated channels may be ensured by the selective presence of their anchoring protein, AKAP79, at the majority of glutamatergic synapses in the CA1, but not in the CA2/CA3 regions, suggesting profound differences in signal transduction and long-term synaptic plasticity between these regions of the human hippocampus.