The RGS (regulators of G protein signaling) proteins represent a novel family of proteins which attenuate G protein mediated signaling. Using antisense riboprobes selective for rat RGS4, RGS7, and RGS2, we examined the regulation of these RGS mRNAs in PC12 cells in response to agents which elevate intracellular cAMP. Treatment of the PC12 cells with forskolin, dibutryl cAMP, or 8-CPT-cAMP for three hours decreased RGS4 message by nearly 50%. Actinomycin D, a potent inhibitor of transcription, did not affect the forskolin-induced decrease in RGS4 message, suggesting that forskolin does not alter RGS4 message half-life. RGS7 message is also present in these cells, but was not affected by forskolin. In contrast, RGS2 message is not evident in unstimulated cells but is strongly induced by one hour of treatment with forskolin. Taken together, these data suggest that mRNA levels of different RGS2 family members respond in an idiosynchratic fashion to cAMP challenge.