Cancer Res 2005 Jun;65(11):4506-14
Human Cancer Genetics Program, and Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal Medicine, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio 43210, USA.
Carney complex is an autosomal dominant neoplasia syndrome characterized by spotty skin pigmentation, myxomatosis, endocrine tumors, and schwannomas. This condition may be caused by inactivating mutations in PRKAR1A, the gene encoding the type 1A regulatory subunit of protein kinase A. To better understand the mechanism by which PRKAR1A mutations cause disease, we have developed conventional and conditional null alleles for Prkar1a in the mouse. Prkar1a(+/-) mice developed nonpigmented schwannomas and fibro-osseous bone lesions beginning at approximately 6 months of age. Although genotype-specific cardiac and adrenal lesions were not seen, benign and malignant thyroid neoplasias were observed in older mice. This spectrum of tumors overlaps that seen in Carney complex patients, confirming the validity of this mouse model. Genetic analysis indicated that allelic loss occurred in a subset of tumor cells, suggesting that complete loss of Prkar1a plays a key role in tumorigenesis. Similarly, tissue-specific ablation of Prkar1a from a subset of facial neural crest cells caused the formation of schwannomas with divergent differentiation. These observations confirm the identity of PRKAR1A as a tumor suppressor gene with specific importance to cyclic AMP-responsive tissues and suggest that these mice may be valuable tools not only for understanding endocrine tumorigenesis but also for understanding inherited predispositions for schwannoma formation.