CaMKII: a central molecular organizer of synaptic plasticity, learning and memory

Nat Rev Neurosci. 2022 Nov;23(11):666-682. doi: 10.1038/s41583-022-00624-2. Epub 2022 Sep 2.


Calcium-calmodulin (CaM)-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is the most abundant protein in excitatory synapses and is central to synaptic plasticity, learning and memory. It is activated by intracellular increases in calcium ion levels and triggers molecular processes necessary for synaptic plasticity. CaMKII phosphorylates numerous synaptic proteins, thereby regulating their structure and functions. This leads to molecular events crucial for synaptic plasticity, such as receptor trafficking, localization and activity; actin cytoskeletal dynamics; translation; and even transcription through synapse-nucleus shuttling. Several new tools affording increasingly greater spatiotemporal resolution have revealed the link between CaMKII activity and downstream signalling processes in dendritic spines during synaptic and behavioural plasticity. These technologies have provided insights into the function of CaMKII in learning and memory.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / analysis
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2* / analysis
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2* / metabolism
  • Calmodulin* / analysis
  • Calmodulin* / metabolism
  • Hippocampus
  • Humans
  • Neuronal Plasticity / physiology
  • Synapses / metabolism


  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Type 2
  • Calmodulin
  • Calcium
  • Actins