The Ca2+-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaM kinase) cascade includes three kinases: CaM-kinase kinase (CaMKK); and the CaM kinases CaMKI and CaMKIV, which are phosphorylated and activated by CaMKK. Members of this cascade respond to elevation of intracellular Ca2+ levels and are particularly abundant in brain and in T cells. CaMKK and CaMKIV localize both to the nucleus and to the cytoplasm, whereas CaMKI is only cytosolic. Nuclear CaMKIV regulates transcription through phosphorylation of several transcription factors, including CREB. In the cytoplasm, there is extensive cross-talk between CaMKK, CaMKIV and other signaling cascades, including those that involve the cAMP-dependent kinase (PKA), MAP kinases and protein kinase B (PKB; also known as Akt). Activation of PKB by CaMKK appears to be important in protection of neurons from programmed cell death during development.