A newly designed cyclic AMP (cAMP) analogue, Sp-5,6-dichloro-1-beta-D- ribofuranosylbenzimidazole-3′,5′-monophosphorothioate (Sp-5,6-DCl-cBiMPS), and 8-(p-chlorophenylthio)-cAMP (8-pCPT-cAMP) were compared with respect to their chemical and biological properties in order to assess their potential as activators of the cAMP-dependent protein kinases (cAMP-PK) in intact cells. Sp-5,6-DCl-cBiMPS was shown to be both a potent and specific activator of purified cAMP-PK and of cAMP-PK in platelet membranes, whereas 8-pCPT-cAMP proved to be a potent activator of cAMP-PK and cyclic-GMP-dependent protein kinase (cGMP-PK) both as purified enzymes and in platelet membranes. Sp-5,6-DCl-cBiMPS was not significantly hydrolysed by three types of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, whereas 8-pCPT-cAMP (and 8-bromo-cAMP) was hydrolysed to a significant extent by the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent phosphodiesterase and by the cGMP-inhibited phosphodiesterase. The apparent lipophilicity, a measure of potential cell-membrane permeability, of Sp-5,6-DCl-cBiMPS was higher than that of 8-pCPT-cAMP. Extracellular application of Sp-5,6-DCl-cBiMPS to intact human platelets reproduced the pattern of protein phosphorylation induced by prostaglandin E1, a cAMP-increasing inhibitor of platelet activation. In intact platelets, Sp-5,6- DCl-cBiMPS was also more effective than 8-pCPT-cAMP in inducing quantitative phosphorylation of the 46/50 kDa vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP), a major substrate of cAMP-PK in platelets. As observed with prostaglandin E1, pretreatment of human platelets with Sp-5,6-DCl-cBiMPS prevented the aggregation induced by thrombin. The results suggest that Sp-5,6-DCl-cBiMPS is a very potent and specific activator of cAMP-PK in cell extracts and intact cells and, in this respect, is superior to any other cAMP analogue used for intact-cell studies. In contrast with 8-pCPT-cAMP, Sp-5,6-DCl-cBiMPS can be used to distinguish the signal-transduction pathways mediated by cAMP-PK and cGMP-PK.

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