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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Mutations of the gene encoding the protein kinase A type I-alpha regulatory subunit (PRKAR1A) in patients with the "complex of spotty skin pigmentation, myxomas, endocrine overactivity, and schwannomas" (Carney complex).

Carney complex ( CNC) is a familial multiple neoplasia syndrome associated with abnormal skin and mucosal pigmentation. The complex has features overlapping those of McCune-Albright syndrome (MAS) and the other multiple endocrine neoplasias (MENs). CNC is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait, and the responsible genes have been mapped by linkage analysis to loci at 2p16 and 17q22-24. Because of its unusual biochemical features (e.g., paradoxical responses to various endocrine signals) and its clinical similarities to MAS, genes implicated in cyclic nucleotide-dependent signaling, including GNAS1 (which is responsible for MAS), had been considered likely candidates for causing CNC. The gene encoding the protein kinase A (PKA) type I-alpha regulatory subunit (RI alpha), PRKAR1A, had been mapped to 17q22-24; loss-of-heterozygosity (LOH) analysis using polymorphic markers from this region revealed consistent changes in tumors from patients with CNC, including those from one family previously mapped to 17q22-24. Investigation of a polymorphic site within the 5' of the PRKAR1A gene showed segregation with the disease and retention of the allele bearing the disease gene in CNC tumors. Mutations of the PRKAR1A gene were also found to have occurred de novo in sporadic cases of CNC; no mutations were found in kindreds mapping to 2p16. Thus, genetic heterogeneity in CNC was confirmed; in total, 41% of all patients with CNC had mutations in the PRKAR1A gene. All mutations were frameshifts, insertions, and deletions that led to nonsense mRNA and premature termination of the predicted peptide product. Functional studies in CNC tumors suggested that inactivating mutations of the PRKAR1A gene led to nonsense mRNA decay (the mutant peptide product was not present) and were associated with dysregulated PKA activity, increased responsiveness to cAMP, and excess of type-II PKA activity. We conclude that the PRKAR1A gene, coding for the RIalpha subunit of PKA, a critical cellular component of a number of cyclic nucleotide-dependent signaling pathways, is mutated in a subset of patients with CNC. In their tumors, there is LOH of the normal allele, suggesting that normal RI-alpha may have tumor suppression function in the tissues affected by CNC. An excess of type-II PKA activity was present in affected tissues, which may be responsible for the apparent tumorigenicity of PRKAR1A mutations in endocrine tissues.[1]


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