Reversible blockade of experience-dependent plasticity by calcineurin in mouse visual cortex

Nat Neurosci. 2005 Jun;8(6):791-6. doi: 10.1038/nn1464. Epub 2005 May 8.


Numerous protein kinases have been implicated in visual cortex plasticity, but the role of serine/threonine protein phosphatases has not yet been established. Calcineurin, the only known Ca2+/calmodulin-activated protein phosphatase in the brain, has been identified as a molecular constraint on synaptic plasticity in the hippocampus and on memory. Using transgenic mice overexpressing calcineurin inducibly in forebrain neurons, we now provide evidence that calcineurin is also involved in ocular dominance plasticity. A transient increase in calcineurin activity is found to prevent the shift of responsiveness in the visual cortex following monocular deprivation, and this effect is reversible. These results imply that the balance between protein kinases and phosphatases is critical for visual cortex plasticity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Calcineurin / genetics*
  • Cell Differentiation / physiology
  • Dominance, Ocular / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neuronal Plasticity / genetics*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Sensory Deprivation / physiology
  • Vision, Monocular / genetics
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development*
  • Visual Cortex / metabolism*
  • Visual Pathways / cytology
  • Visual Pathways / growth & development*
  • Visual Pathways / metabolism*
  • Visual Perception / physiology


  • Protein Kinases
  • Calcineurin