The Journal of biological chemistry

Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-activating Polypeptide (PACAP) Targets Down Syndrome Candidate Region 1 (DSCR1/RCAN1) to control Neuronal Differentiation.

PMID 26157140


Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating peptide (PACAP) is a neurotrophic peptide involved in a wide range of nervous functions, including development, differentiation, and survival, and various aspects of learning and memory. Here we report that PACAP induces the expression of regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1, also known as DSCR1), which is abnormally expressed in the brains of Down syndrome patients. Increased RCAN1 expression is accompanied by activation of the PKA-cAMP response element-binding protein pathways. EMSA and ChIP analyses demonstrate the presence of a functional cAMP response element in the RCAN1 promoter. Moreover, we show that PACAP-dependent neuronal differentiation is significantly disturbed by improper RCAN1 expression. Our data provide the first evidence of RCAN1, a Down syndrome-related gene, as a novel target for control of the neurotrophic function of PACAP.