Coordination of growth and endoplasmic reticulum stress signaling by regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1), a novel ATF6-inducible gene

Peter J. Belmont, Archana Tadimalla, Wenqiong J. Chen, Joshua J. Martindale, Donna J. Thuerauf, Marie Marcinko, Natalie Gude, Mark A. Sussman, Christopher C. Glembotski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


Exposing cells to conditions that modulate growth can impair endoplasmic reticulum (ER) protein folding, leading to ER stress and activation of the transcription factor, ATF6. ATF6 binds to ER stress response elements in target genes, inducing expression of proteins that enhance the ER protein folding capacity, which helps overcome the stress and foster survival. To examine the mechanism of ATF6-mediated survival in vivo, we developed a transgenic mousemodel that expresses a novel conditionally activated form of ATF6. We previously showed that activating ATF6 protected the hearts of ATF6 transgenic mice from ER stresses. In the present study, transcript profiling identified modulatory calcineurin interacting protein-1 (MCIP1), also known as regulator of calcineurin 1 (RCAN1), as a novel ATF6-inducible gene that encodes a known regulator of calcineurin/nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT)-mediated growth and development in many tissues. The ability of ATF6 to induce RCAN1 in vivo was replicated in cultured cardiac myocytes, where adenoviral (AdV)-mediated overexpression of activated ATF6 induced the RCAN1 promoter, up-regulated RCAN1 mRNA, inhibited calcineurin phosphatase activity, and exerted a striking growth modulating effect that was inhibited by RCAN1-targeted small interfering RNA. These results demonstrate that RCAN1 is a novel ATF6 target gene that may coordinate growth and ER stress signaling pathways. By modulating growth, RCAN1 may reduce the need for ER protein folding, thus helping to overcome the stress and enhance survival. Moreover, these results suggest that RCAN1 may also be a novel integrator of growth and ER stress signaling in many other tissues that depend on calcineurin/ NFAT signaling for optimal growth and development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14012-14021
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number20
StatePublished - May 16 2008
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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