The Ca super(2+)-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaM kinase) cascade includes three kinases: CaM-kinase kinase (CaMKK); and the CaM kinases CaMKI and CaMKIV, which are phosphorylated and activated by CaMKK. Members of this cascade respond to elevation of intracellular Ca super(2+) levels and are particularly abundant in brain and in T cells. CaMKK and CaMKIV localize both to the nucleus and to the cytoplasm, whereas CaMKI is only cytosolic. Nuclear CaMKIV regulates transcription through phosphorylation of several transcription factors, including CREB. In the cytoplasm, there is extensive cross-talk between CaMKK, CaMKIV and other signaling cascades, including those that involve the cAMP-dependent kinase (PKA), MAP kinases and protein kinase B (PKB; also known as Akt). Activation of PKB by CaMKK appears to be important in protection of neurons from programmed cell death during development.
The transcription factor SP1 contains three Krueppel-like zinc fingers. Recently, several related proteins, including erythroid, lung and gut-enriched Krueppel-like factors, have been identified. Together with SP1, these proteins form a sizeable family of transcription factors that share homology in their zinc-finger domains but differ elsewhere. Analysis of these differences is illuminating specific mechanisms by which transcription is regulated.