Ca2+/Calmodulin-Dependent Transcriptional Activation of Neuropeptide Y Gene Induced by Membrane Depolarization: Determination of Ca2+- and Cyclic AMP/Phorbol 12-Myristate 13-Acetate-Responsive Elements


Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. H. Higuchi at Department of Pharmacology I, Osaka University School of Medicine, 2-2 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565, Japan.


Abstract: Membrane depolarization stimuli (high potassium concentration and veratridine) increased neuropeptide Y (NPY) mRNA abundance time-dependently, without a change in β-actin mRNA level, in NG108-15 and PC12 cells. Although the induction by veratridine was blocked completely by tetrodotoxin, the induction by potassium was suppressed minimally. Voltage-dependent Ca channel blockers and calmodulin antagonists inhibited the increases by both depolarization stimuli completely, suggesting involvement of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinases (CaM kinases). Transient assay using chloramphenicol acetyltransferase reporter genes containing the rat NPY gene promoter indicated that membrane depolarization and Ca entry stimulate transcription of the NPY gene. The depolarization-induced transactivation was also blocked by CaM kinase inhibitors. The 200-bp 5′-upstream region (−344/−145) was localized as a Ca2+/calmodulin-responsive element (CaMRE), which confers depolarization-induced transactivation. It is interesting that this CaMRE did not contain the canonical Ca-responsive elements such as CRE, SRE, NF-AT, or the C/EBPβ-binding site and was separated from a 64-bp cyclic AMP/phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate-responsive element (−144/−81). These findings suggested that membrane depolarization regulates the NPY gene transcription positively through the unique CaMRE by activation of CaM kinases following Ca entry through L-type Ca channels.