The molecular conformation of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaM kinase II) from the rat forebrain and cerebellum was studied by means of EM using a quick-freezing technique. Each molecule appeared to be composed of two kinds of particles, with one larger central particle and smaller peripheral particles and had shapes resembling that of a flower with 8 or 10 "petals". A favorable shadowing revealed that each peripheral particle had a thin link to the central particle. We predicted that the 8-petal molecules and 10-petal molecules were octamers and decamers of CaM kinase II subunits, respectively, each assembled with the association domains of subunits gathered in the center, and the catalytic domains in the peripheral particles. Binding of antibodies to the enzyme molecules suggested that molecules with 8 and 10 peripheral particles were homopolymers composed only of beta subunit and of alpha subunit, respectively, specifying that CaM kinase II consists of homopolymer of either alpha or beta subunits.

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