Astroglial differentiation of cortical precursor cells triggered by activation of the cAMP-dependent signaling pathway.
Transcription of a number of eukaryotic genes is activated in response to an increase in the intracellular cAMP concentration. These genes stimulated by cAMP have a common promoter element, cAMP response element (CRE). The CRE is recognized by a CRE binding protein, CREB. The binding of CREB to CRE does not induce transcription. Activation of transcription requires the phosphorylation or CREB at Ser-133. In the case of the cAMP pathway, the activated catalytic subunit of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) translocates to the nucleus and phosphorylates Ser-133 of CREB. In the nervous system, signals transmitted across synapses are known to regulate gene expression in the post-synaptic cell. This process often involves membrane depolarization and subsequent amplification of intracellular Ca2+. The transcriptional activation induced by membrane depolarization and Ca2+ influx is mediated by a promoter element, called the Ca(2+)-responsive element (CaRE). Recent studies of c-fos and proenkephalin gene expression have shown that the CaRE is indistinguishable from a CRE. In this paper, we focus on the possible interactions between Ca2+ and the cAMP signaling pathways into the nucleus.