The physiological effects of cGMP are largely determined by the activities of intracellular receptors, including cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) and cGMP-binding cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs), and the distribution of cGMP among these receptors dictates activity of the signalling pathway. In the present study, the effects of PKG-Iα or PKG-Iβ on the rate of cGMP hydrolysis by the isolated PDE5 catalytic domain were examined. PKG-Iα strongly inhibited cGMP hydrolysis with an IC50 value of 217 nM, which is similar to the physiological concentration of PKG in pig coronary artery reported previously. By contrast, PKG-Iβ, which has lower affinity for cGMP than does PKG-Iα, inhibited cGMP hydrolysis with an IC50 of approx. 1 μM. Inhibition by PKG-Iα was more effective than that by PKG-Iβ, consistent with their relative affinities for cGMP. Autophosphorylation of PKGs increased their cGMP-binding affinities and their inhibitory effects on PDE5 hydrolysis of cGMP. Autophosphorylation of PKG-Iβ increased its inhibitory potency on PDE5 hydrolysis of cGMP by 10-fold compared with a 2-fold increase upon autophosphorylation of PKG-Iα. The results indicate that cGMP bound to allosteric cGMP-binding sites of PKG is protected from hydrolysis by PDE5 and that persistent protection of cGMP by either non-phosphorylated or autophosphorylated PKGs may be a positive-feedback control to sustain cGMP signalling.

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