The Down syndrome critical region 1 (DSCR1) gene encodes a regulator of the calcineurin 1 (RCAN1) protein, and the elevated levels of RCAN1 are associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Down syndrome (DS). In this report, we found that protein kinase A (PKA) was able to phosphorylate RCAN1 in vitro and in vivo. In addition, we found that the phosphorylation of RCAN1 by PKA caused an increase of RCAN1 expression by increasing of the half-life of the protein. Consistently, the pharmacological inhibition of intracellular PKA using H-89 and the knockdown of the endogenous PKA catalytic subunit with siRNA decreased the expression of RCAN1. Furthermore, the phosphorylation of RCAN1 by PKA enhanced the inhibitory function of RCAN1 on calcineurin-mediated gene transcription. Our data provide the first evidence that PKA acts as an important regulatory component in the control of RCAN1 function through phosphorylation.
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