Type 1 inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate receptors (IP3R-1) are among the important calcium channels regulating intracellular Ca2+ concentration in the central nervous system. In a previous study, we showed that drugs of abuse, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and ethanol, induced IP3R-1 upregulation via the calcium signal transduction pathway in psychological dependence. Although nicotine, a major component in tobacco smoke, participates in psychological and/or physical dependence, it has not yet been clarified how nicotine alters IP3R-1 expression. The present study, therefore, seeks to clarify the mechanism bgy which nicotine modifies IP3R-1 expression by using mouse cerebral cortical neurons in primary culture. Nicotine induced dose- and time-dependent upregulation of IP3R-1 protein following its mRNA increase, and the latter was significantly suppressed by a nonselective nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChR) antagonist, mecamylamine. Both cFos and phosphorylated-cJun (p-cJun) were immediately increased in the nucleus, together with an increase of calmodulin kinase (CaMK) IV but not CaMKII expression after nicotine exposure. A nonselective inhibitor of CaMKs, KN-93, and a calcium chelating regent, BAPTA-AM, completely suppressed the expression of cFos and p-cJun in the nucleus as well as the nicotine-induced IP3R-1 upregulation. These results indicate that nAChR activation by nicotine upregulates IP3R-1 via increase of activator protein-1, which is a cFos and cJun dimmer, in the nucleus, with activation of Ca2+ signaling transduction processes. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.