Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Robert Tombes


Calcium (Ca2+)/calmodulin-dependent kinase 2 (CaMK-II) is one member of a family of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinases that responds to intracellular Ca2+ signals (Hudmon, A. and H. Schulman (2002)). CaMK-II is a multifunctional regulator of transcription, cell cycle progression, cell motility and neuronal development. (Wang, C., et al. (2008), Easley, C. A. IV, et al. (2008), Osterhoff, M., et al. (2003), Faison, M. O., et al. (2002)). Recently, CaMK-II has been shown to be important in the early development of vertebrates. In developing zebrafish, disruption of CaMK-II expression has been shown to induce phenotypes similar to those documented in several human diseases. The identification of the tissue-specific binding partners and substrates of CaMK-II which are responsible for specific developmental fates remains a key step in understanding this important protein kinase family. In this thesis research, specific “substrate-trapping” mutants of CaMK-II were designed, introduced into a variety of rodent and human cell lines in culture and used in conjunction with tandem mass spectrometry to identify binding partners, such as β-actin, tropomodulin-3 and Fli-I as well as novel, putative substrates, such as the tumor suppressor protein 53 (p53). This approach was subsequently applied to zebrafish embryos where an overlapping subset of CaMK-II binding proteins to those found in mammalian cell culture were identified. This project represents one of the first studies to identify binding proteins in zebrafish embryos using epitope tagging and mass spectrometry. This research has also established a technical framework for the use of mass spectrometry to characterize the developmental proteome of whole zebrafish embryos or specific zebrafish tissues at any developmental time point.


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