Adenylyl cyclases are a critically important family of multiply regulated signalling molecules. Their susceptibility to many modes of regulation allows them to integrate the activities of a variety of signalling pathways. However, this property brings with it the problem of imparting specificity and discrimination. Recent studies are revealing the range of strategies utilized by the cyclases to solve this problem. Microdomains are a consequence of these solutions, in which cAMP dynamics may differ from the broad cytosol. Currently evolving methodologies are beginning to reveal cAMP fluctuations in these various compartments.
Abbreviations used: AC, adenylyl cyclase; [Ca2+], intracellular [Ca2+]; CCE, capacitative Ca2+ entry; CNG, cyclic-nucleotide-gated; EGF, epidermal growth factor; PDE, phosphodiesterase; PKA, protein kinase A/cAMP-dependent protein kinase; AKAP, PKA-anchoring proteins; PKC, protein kinase C; PLC, phospholipase C; PSD, post-synaptic density; sAC, soluble AC; Tm, transmembrane domain; Trp, transient receptor potential.