Coordination of growth and endoplasmic reticulum stress signaling by regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1), a novel ATF6-inducible gene

J Biol Chem. 2008 May 16;283(20):14012-21. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M709776200. Epub 2008 Mar 3.


Exposing cells to conditions that modulate growth can impair endoplasmic reticulum (ER) protein folding, leading to ER stress and activation of the transcription factor, ATF6. ATF6 binds to ER stress response elements in target genes, inducing expression of proteins that enhance the ER protein folding capacity, which helps overcome the stress and foster survival. To examine the mechanism of ATF6-mediated survival in vivo, we developed a transgenic mouse model that expresses a novel conditionally activated form of ATF6. We previously showed that activating ATF6 protected the hearts of ATF6 transgenic mice from ER stresses. In the present study, transcript profiling identified modulatory calcineurin interacting protein-1 (MCIP1), also known as regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1), as a novel ATF6-inducible gene that encodes a known regulator of calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT)-mediated growth and development in many tissues. The ability of ATF6 to induce RCAN1 in vivo was replicated in cultured cardiac myocytes, where adenoviral (AdV)-mediated overexpression of activated ATF6 induced the RCAN1 promoter, up-regulated RCAN1 mRNA, inhibited calcineurin phosphatase activity, and exerted a striking growth modulating effect that was inhibited by RCAN1-targeted small interfering RNA. These results demonstrate that RCAN1 is a novel ATF6 target gene that may coordinate growth and ER stress signaling pathways. By modulating growth, RCAN1 may reduce the need for ER protein folding, thus helping to overcome the stress and enhance survival. Moreover, these results suggest that RCAN1 may also be a novel integrator of growth and ER stress signaling in many other tissues that depend on calcineurin/NFAT signaling for optimal growth and development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activating Transcription Factor 6 / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Models, Biological
  • Models, Statistical
  • Muscle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA, Small Interfering / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction


  • Activating Transcription Factor 6
  • Atf6 protein, mouse
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • DSCR1 protein, mouse
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • RNA, Small Interfering
  • RNA