Calcium-sensing receptor-dependent activation of CREB phosphorylation in HEK293 cells and human parathyroid cells

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2013 May 15;304(10):E1097-104. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00054.2013. Epub 2013 Mar 26.


In addition to its acute effects on hormone secretion, epithelial transport, and shape change, the calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) modulates the expression of genes that control cell survival, proliferation, and differentiation as well as the synthesis of peptide hormones and enzymes. In the present study, we investigated the impacts of a CaSR agonist and several CaSR modulators on phosphorylation of transcription factor CREB residue Ser(133) in CaSR-expressing HEK293 (HEK-CaSR) cells and human adenomatous parathyroid cells. Elevated Ca(2+)o concentration had no effect on CREB phosphorylation (p-CREB) in control HEK293 cells but stimulated p-CREB in both HEK-CaSR cells and human parathyroid cells. In addition, p-CREB was stimulated by the positive modulator cinacalcet and inhibited by the negative modulator NPS 2143 in both CaSR-expressing cell types. Two positive modulators that bind in the receptor's Venus Fly Trap domain, l-phenylalanine and S-methylglutathione, had no effect on p-CREB in HEK-CaSR cells, demonstrating the existence of pronounced signaling bias. Analysis of the signaling pathways using specific inhibitors demonstrated that phosphoinositide-specific phospholipase C and conventional protein kinase C isoforms make major contributions to Ca(2+)o-induced p-CREB in both cell-types, suggesting key roles for Gq/11. In addition, in parathyroid cells but not HEK-CaSR cells, activation of p-CREB was dependent on Gi/o, demonstrating the existence of cell type-specific signaling.

Keywords: CREB; ERK1/2; calcilytic; calcimimetic; calcium-sensing receptor; cinacalcet; parathyroid.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • CREB-Binding Protein / metabolism*
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cinacalcet
  • Glutathione / analogs & derivatives
  • Glutathione / pharmacology
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Naphthalenes / pharmacology
  • Parathyroid Glands / metabolism*
  • Phenylalanine / pharmacology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction


  • N-(2-hydroxy-3-(2-cyano-3-chlorophenoxy)propyl)-1,1-dimethyl-2-(2-nephthyl)ethylamine
  • Naphthalenes
  • Receptors, Calcium-Sensing
  • Phenylalanine
  • CREB-Binding Protein
  • CREBBP protein, human
  • Glutathione
  • S-methyl glutathione
  • Calcium
  • Cinacalcet