CaMKII regulates proteasome phosphorylation and activity and promotes memory destabilization following retrieval

Timothy J. Jarome, Nicole C. Ferrara, Janine L. Kwapis, Fred J. Helmstetter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations


Numerous studies have suggested that memories "destabilize" and require de novo protein synthesis in order to reconsolidate following retrieval, but very little is known about how this destabilization process is regulated. Recently, ubiquitin-proteasome mediated protein degradation has been identified as a critical regulator of memory trace destabilization following retrieval, though the specific mechanisms controlling retrieval-induced changes in ubiquitin-proteasome activity remain equivocal. Here, we found that proteasome activity is increased in the amygdala in a CaMKII-dependent manner following the retrieval of a contextual fear memory. We show that in vitro inhibition of CaMKII reversed retrieval-induced increases in proteasome activity. Additionally, in vivo pharmacological blockade of CaMKII abolished increases in proteolytic activity and activity related regulatory phosphorylation in the amygdala following retrieval, suggesting that CaMKII was "upstream" of protein degradation during the memory reconsolidation process. Consistent with this, while inhibiting CaMKII in the amygdala did not impair memory following retrieval, it completely attenuated the memory impairments that resulted from post-retrieval protein synthesis blockade. Collectively, these results suggest that CaMKII controls the initiation of the memory reconsolidation process through regulation of the proteasome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalNeurobiology of Learning and Memory
StatePublished - Feb 1 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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