Epacs (exchange proteins directly activated by cAMP) are guanine-nucleotide-exchange factors for the Ras-like small GTPases Rap1 and Rap2. Epacs were discovered in 1998 as new sensors for the second messenger cAMP acting in parallel to PKA (protein kinase A). As cAMP regulates many important physiological functions in brain and heart, the existence of Epacs raises many questions regarding their role in these tissues. The present review focuses on the biological roles and signalling pathways of Epacs in neurons and cardiac myocytes. We discuss the potential involvement of Epacs in the manifestation of cardiac and central diseases such as cardiac hypertrophy and memory disorders.

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