Regulation of hippocampal synaptic plasticity by cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinases

Prog Neurobiol. 2003 Dec;71(6):401-37. doi: 10.1016/j.pneurobio.2003.12.003.


Protein kinases critically regulate synaptic plasticity in the mammalian hippocampus. Cyclic-AMP dependent protein kinase (PKA) is a serine-threonine kinase that has been strongly implicated in the expression of specific forms of long-term potentiation (LTP), long-term depression (LTD), and hippocampal long-term memory. We review the roles of PKA in activity-dependent forms of hippocampal synaptic plasticity by highlighting particular themes that have emerged in ongoing research. These include the participation of distinct isoforms of PKA in specific types of synaptic plasticity, modification of the PKA-dependence of LTP by multiple factors such as distinct patterns of imposed activity, environmental enrichment, and genetic manipulation of signalling molecules, and presynaptic versus postsynaptic mechanisms for PKA-dependent LTP. We also discuss many of the substrates that have been implicated as targets for PKA's actions in hippocampal synaptic plasticity, including CREB, protein phosphatases, and glutamatergic receptors. Future prospects for shedding light on the roles of PKA are also described from the perspective of specific aspects of synaptic physiology and brain function that are ripe for investigation using incisive genetic, cell biological, and electrophysiological approaches.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / physiology*
  • Hippocampus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Potentiation / physiology
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression / physiology
  • Memory / physiology
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology


  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases