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Deletion of the kinase domain from death-associated protein kinase enhances spatial memory in mice.

Yukawa K., Tanaka T., Bai T., Li L., Tsubota Y., Owada-Makabe K., Maeda M., Hoshino K., Akira S., Iso H.

Death-associated protein kinase (DAPK) is a Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent serine/threonine kinase that is thought to mediate apoptosis. DAPK is highly expressed in hippocampal neurons which are essential elements for memory formation. To examine if DAPK is implicated in spatial learning and memory, both wild-type and DAPK-mutant mice were subjected to Morris water maze tests. DAPK-mutant mice were generated by deleting 74 amino acids from the catalytic kinase domain of DAPK, and were used to investigate roles of the DAPK kinase domain in regulating spatial memory. Both mutant and wild-type mice were able to learn the water maze tasks to locate a hidden escape platform. In the first probe test, mutant mice showed a more precise memory for platform position compared to wild-type mice. In the reversal training in which the platform was located opposite from the original position, DAPK-mutant mice exhibited superior spatial learning compared to wild-type mice. DAPK-mutant mice also showed a more precise memory than their wild-type littermates in the probe trial of reversal test. Thus, the present results revealed crucial implications of DAPK in regulating spatial memory in mice.

Int. J. Mol. Med. 17:869-873(2006) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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