Regucalcin and Cell Regulation: Role as a Suppressor Protein in Signal Transduction

Mol Cell Biochem. 2011 Jul;353(1-2):101-37. doi: 10.1007/s11010-011-0779-4. Epub 2011 Mar 24.


Regucalcin was discovered in 1978 as a calcium-binding protein that does not contain EF-hand motif of calcium-binding domain (Yamaguchi and Yamamoto Chem Pharm Bull 26:1915-1918, 1978). The name regucalcin was proposed for this calcium-binding protein, which can regulate various Ca(2+)-dependent enzyme activations in liver cells. The regucalcin gene is localized on the chromosome X, and the organization of the regucalcin gene consists of seven exons and six introns. AP-1, NF1-A1, and RGPR-p117 bind to the promoter region of the rat regucalcin gene and enhance transcription activity of regucalcin gene expression that is mediated through calcium signaling. Regucalcin plays a pivotal role in the keep of intracellular calcium ion (Ca(2+)) homeostasis due to activating Ca(2+) pump enzymes in the plasma membrane (basolateral membrane), microsomes (endoplasmic reticulum), mitochondria, and nuclei of many cell types. Regucalcin has a suppressive effect on calcium signaling from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in the proliferative cells. Regucalcin has also been demonstrated to transport to the nucleus, and it can inhibit Ca(2+)-dependent protein kinase and protein phosphatase activities, Ca(2+)-activated deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) fragmentation, and DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) synthesis in the nucleus. Overexpression of regucalcin suppresses cell death and apoptosis in the cloned rat hepatoma cells induced by various signaling factors. Regucalcin can inhibit the enhancement of cell proliferation due to hormonal stimulation. Regucalcin plays an important role as a regulatory protein in cell signaling system, and it is proposed to play a pivotal role in keep of cell homeostasis and function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Homeostasis / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / genetics
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • RGN protein, human
  • Transcription Factors
  • Calcium