Regulating gene transcription in response to cyclic AMP elevation

Cell Signal. 2008 Mar;20(3):460-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cellsig.2007.10.005. Epub 2007 Oct 12.


Many of the effects of prototypical second messenger cyclic adenosine 3',5'-monophosphate (cAMP) on complex processes such as the regulation of fuel metabolism, spermatogenesis and steroidogenesis are mediated via changes in target gene transcription. A large body of research has defined members of the cAMP-response element binding (CREB) protein family as the principal mediators of positive changes in gene expression in response to cAMP following phosphorylation by cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). However, persistent observations of cAMP-mediated induction of specific genes occurring via PKA-independent mechanisms have challenged the generality of the PKA-CREB pathway. In this review, we will discuss in detail both PKA-dependent and -independent mechanisms that have been proposed to explain how cAMP influences the activation status of multiple transcription factors, and how these influence critical biological processes whose defective regulation may lead to disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • CREB-Binding Protein / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Phosphorylation
  • Second Messenger Systems*
  • Serine / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Basic-Leucine Zipper Transcription Factors
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • Serine
  • Cyclic AMP
  • CREB-Binding Protein
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases