Minireview: PRKAR1A: normal and abnormal functions

Endocrinology. 2004 Dec;145(12):5452-8. doi: 10.1210/en.2004-0900. Epub 2004 Aug 26.


The type 1alpha regulatory subunit (RIalpha) of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) (coded by the PRKAR1A gene) is the main component of type I PKA, which regulates most of the serine-threonine kinase activity catalyzed by the PKA holoenzyme in response to cAMP. Carney complex (CNC), or the complex of spotty skin pigmentation, myxomas, and endocrine overactivity, is a multiple endocrine (and not only) neoplasia syndrome that is due to PRKAR1A-inactivating mutations. The R1alpha protein and PRKAR1A mRNA have been found to be up-regulated in a series of cell lines and human and rodent neoplasms, suggesting this molecule's involvement in tumorigenesis and its potential role in cell cycle regulation, growth, and/or proliferation. Alterations in PKA activity elicit a variety of effects depending on the tissue, developmental stage, degree of differentiation, and cAMP levels. In addition, RIalpha may have functions independent of PKA. The presence of inactivating germline mutations and the loss of its wild-type allele in some CNC lesions indicate that PRKAR1A might function as a tumor suppressor gene in these tissues, but could PRKAR1A be a classic tumor suppressor gene? Probably not, and this review explains why.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase RIalpha Subunit
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Endocrine System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Myxoma / physiopathology*
  • Pigmentation Disorders / physiopathology*
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proteins / physiology*
  • Soft Tissue Neoplasms / physiopathology*


  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase RIalpha Subunit
  • PRKAR1A protein, human
  • Proteins
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases