Different regulation of Purkinje cell dendritic development in cerebellar slice cultures by protein kinase Calpha and -beta

J Neurobiol. 2003 Oct;57(1):95-109. doi: 10.1002/neu.10259.


Activity of protein kinase C (PKC), and in particular the PKCgamma-isoform, has been shown to strongly affect and regulate Purkinje cell dendritic development, suggesting an important role for PKC in activity-dependent Purkinje cell maturation. In this study we have analyzed the role of two additional Ca(2+)-dependent PKC isoforms, PKCalpha and -beta, in Purkinje cell survival and dendritic morphology in slice cultures using mice deficient in the respective enzymes. Pharmacological PKC activation strongly reduced basal Purkinje cell dendritic growth in wild-type mice whereas PKC inhibition promoted branching. Purkinje cells from mice deficient in PKCbeta, which is expressed in two splice forms by granule but not Purkinje cells, did not yield measurable morphological differences compared to respective wild-type cells under either experimental condition. In contrast, Purkinje cell dendrites in cultures from PKCalpha-deficient mice were clearly protected from the negative effects on dendritic growth of pharmacological PKC activation and showed an increased branching response to PKC inhibition as compared to wild-type cells. Together with our previous work on the role of PKCgamma, these data support a model predicting that normal Purkinje cell dendritic growth is mainly regulated by the PKCgamma-isoform, which is highly activated by developmental processes. The PKCalpha isoform in this model forms a reserve pool, which only becomes activated upon strong stimulation and then contributes to the limitation of dendritic growth. The PKCbeta isoform appears to not be involved in the signaling cascades regulating Purkinje cell dendritic maturation in cerebellar slice cultures.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Survival
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / growth & development*
  • Dendrites / enzymology
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Mice
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Protein Kinase C / deficiency*
  • Protein Kinase C / genetics
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • Protein Kinase C beta
  • Protein Kinase C-alpha
  • Purkinje Cells / enzymology
  • Purkinje Cells / ultrastructure*


  • protein kinase C gamma
  • Prkca protein, mouse
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Protein Kinase C beta
  • Protein Kinase C-alpha