Role of regucalcin in brain calcium signaling: involvement in aging

Integr Biol (Camb). 2012 Aug;4(8):825-37. doi: 10.1039/c2ib20042b. Epub 2012 May 31.


Regucalcin was discovered in 1978 to be a calcium-binding protein that does not contain the EF-hand motif of the calcium-binding domain [M. Yamaguchi and T. Yamamoto, Chem. Pharm. Bull., 26, 1915-1918, 1978]. The regucalcin gene is localized on the X chromosome and its expression is enhanced through various transcription factors. Regucalcin is known to play a multifunctional role as a suppressor protein of cell signaling in many cell types. Regucalcin is expressed in rat brain neurons and it is decreased in the cerebral cortex and hippocampus of the brain with aging. Neuronal Ca(2+) signaling has been implicated in mechanisms of neuronal plasticity like long-term potentiation, which is likely to play an important role in learning and memory. The disturbance of brain Ca(2+) homeostasis may play a pivotal role in the revelation of brain disease. The intracellular Ca(2+) in brain tissues is increased with aging. Aging enhances the entry of Ca(2+) into brain neuronal cells across the plasma membranes. An increase in the brain microsomal Ca(2+)-ATPase activity of rats with aging resulted in calcium accumulation in the microsomes of the Ca(2+)-sequestrating system that is partly related to the brain toxicity by calcium. Regucalcin had an inhibitory effect on rat brain microsomal Ca(2+)-ATPase activity. The suppressive effect of regucalcin on brain microsomal Ca(2+)-ATPase activity was weakened in aged rats. Regucalcin was found to inhibit brain cytosolic protein kinase C. Brain microsomal Ca(2+)-ATPase activity was enhanced by protein kinase C in aged rats. Regucalcin could also inhibit activity of Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase, protein phosphatase, and Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent nitric oxide synthase, which is linked to Ca(2+) signaling, in the cytosol of rat brain neurons. These inhibitory effects of regucalcin were weakened with aging. Regucalcin may play a pivotal role in the regulation of Ca(2+) signaling which is stimulated through a neurotransmitter in the brain neurons with aging.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Alzheimer Disease / embryology
  • Animals
  • Brain / enzymology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Calcium-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Calcium-Transporting ATPases / chemistry
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • Cytosol / enzymology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / metabolism
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / physiology*
  • Learning
  • Memory
  • Microsomes / metabolism
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Protein Kinase C / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction


  • Calcium-Binding Proteins
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • RGN protein, human
  • Protein Kinase C
  • Carboxylic Ester Hydrolases
  • Rgn protein, rat
  • Calcium-Transporting ATPases
  • Calcium