The two regulatory subunits (R1 and R2) of protein kinase A (PKA) are differentially expressed in cancer cell lines and exert diverse roles in growth control. Recently, mutations of the PKA regulatory subunit IA gene (PRKAR1A.) have been identified in patients with Carney complex. The aim of this study was to evaluate the expression of the PKA regulatory subunits R1A, R2A, and R2B in a series of 30 pituitary adenomas and the effects of subunit activation on cell proliferation. In these tumors, neither mutation of PRKAR1A nor loss of heterozygosity was identified. By real-time PCR, mRNA of the three subunits was detected in all of the tumors, R1A being the most represented in the majority of samples. By contrast, immunohistochemistry documented low or absent R1A levels in all tumors, whereas R2A and R2B were highly expressed, thus resulting in an unbalanced R1/R2 ratio. The low levels of R1A were, at least in part, due to proteasome-mediated degradation. The effect of the R1/R2 ratio on proliferation was assessed in GH3 cells, which showed a similar unbalanced pattern of R subunits expression, and in growth hormone-secreting adenomas. The R2-selective cAMP analog 8-Cl cAMP and R1A RNA silencing, stimulated cell proliferation and increased Cyclin D1 expression, respectively, in human and rat adenomatous somatotrophs. These data show that a low R1/R2 ratio promoted proliferation of transformed somatotrophs and are consistent with the Carney complex model in which R1A inactivating mutations further unbalance this ratio in favor of R2 subunits. These results suggest that low expression of R1A protein may favor cAMP-dependent proliferation of transformed somatotrophs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research