A complementary DNA (cDNA) clone (B4) encoding the catalytic subunit of a cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKAc) was isolated from a λgt10 rat brain cDNA library, using a synthetic oligonucleotide probe whose sequence was based on the known amino acid sequence of a bovine cardiac PKAc. Sequence analysis of this clone revealed a region of 1002 nucleotides which encodes a protein that is 92% homologous to amino acids 17–350 of the bovine cardiac PKAc protein. This clone lacks coding sequences for amino acids 1–16 of the latter protein. Nevertheless, it provided a useful probe to analyze expression of the related gene in a variety of systems. Northern blot analyses using a 32P-labeled probe prepared from a 0.6-kilobase PstI fragment of clone B4 revealed an abundant 4.6-kilobase band in rat brain RNA and lesser amounts of this 4.6-kilobase RNA in rat heart and liver. A 4.6-kilobase RNA was also detected in RNA samples obtained from mouse fibroblasts. This probe also detected homologous RNA in a variety of nonrodent species. In subsequent experiments, this cDNA was used as a probe to elucidate the role of PKAc in post-surgical hepatic regeneration and diethylnitrosamine-induced hepatomas in the rat. These experiments revealed that, following partial hepatectomy, PKAc mRNA is decreased 3-fold by 12 h, returning to normal by 72 h; hepatomas showed no consistent pattern of change in PKAc mRNA levels as compared to controls. Our results indicate that this cDNA encodes an isoform of PKAc which is distinct from PKAc-α isolated by Uhler et al. (Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 83: 1300–1304, 1986) but highly homologous to PKAc-β isolated by Showers and Maurer (J. Biol. Chem., 261: 16288–16291, 1986), that depression of cAMP-dependent protein phosphorylation may be an important mechanism in the regeneration of mature rat liver but is not a consistent alteration in chemically induced hepatoma, and that this cDNA is useful as a probe for the study of the role of PKAc gene expression in growth control, particularly in rodent species.


This research was supported by National Cancer Institute Grant CA 26056 (to I. B. W.), by an award from the National Foundation for Cancer Research (to I. B. W.), and by a Medical Scientist Training Program (to J. S. R.).

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