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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1989 Jul;86(13):4887-91.

Regulation of transcription by cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase.

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  • 1Regulatory Biology Laboratory, Salk Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037.


cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA; ATP: protein phosphotransferase; EC appears to be the major mediator of cAMP responses in mammalian cells. We have investigated the role of PKA subunits in the regulation of specific genes in response to cAMP by cotransfection of wild-type or mutant subunits of PKA together with cAMP-inducible reporter genes. Overexpression of catalytic subunit induced expression from three cAMP-regulated promoters (alpha-subunit, c-fos, E1A) in the absence of elevated levels of cAMP but did not affect expression from two unregulated promoters (Rous sarcoma virus, simian virus 40). Cotransfection of a regulatory subunit gene containing mutations in both cAMP binding sites strongly repressed both basal and induced expression from the cAMP-responsive alpha-subunit promoter without affecting expression from the Rous sarcoma virus promoter. These experiments indicate that cAMP induces gene expression through phosphorylation by the catalytic subunit and that the ambient degree of phosphorylation dictates the level of basal as well as induced expression of the cAMP-regulated alpha-subunit gene.

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