3′-5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) is a ubiquitous second messenger that modulates multiple cellular functions. It is now well established that cAMP can mediate a plethora of functional effects via a complex system of local regulatory mechanisms that result in compartmentalized signalling. The use of fluorescent probes to monitor cAMP in intact, living cells have been instrumental in furthering our appreciation of this ancestral and ubiquitous pathway and unexpected details of the nano-architecture of the cAMP signalling network are starting to emerge. Recent evidence shows that sympathetic control of cardiac contraction and relaxation is achieved via generation of multiple, distinct pools of cAMP that lead to differential phosphorylation of target proteins localized only tens of nanometres apart. The specific local control at these nanodomains is enabled by a distinct signalosome where effectors, targets, and regulators of the cAMP signal are clustered. In this review, we focus on recent advances using targeted fluorescent reporters for cAMP and how they have contributed to our current understanding of nanodomain cAMP signalling in the heart. We briefly discuss how this information can be exploited to design novel therapies and we highlight some of the questions that remain unanswered.
3′-5′-Cyclic adenosine monophosphate/protein kinase A (cAMP/PKA) signalling is activated by different extracellular stimuli and mediates many diverse processes within the same cell. It is now well established that in order to translate into the appropriate cellular function multiple extracellular inputs, which may act simultaneously on the same cell, the cAMP/PKA signalling pathway is compartmentalised. Multimolecular complexes are organised at specific subcellular sites to generate spatially confined signalosomes, which include effectors, modulators and targets of the pathway. In recent years, it has become evident that mitochondria represent sites of compartmentalised cAMP signalling. However, the exact location and the molecular composition of distinct mitochondria signalosomes and their function remain largely unknown. In this review, we focus on individual components of the cAMP/PKA signalling pathway at distinct mitochondria subdomains represented by the outer and inner mitochondrial membranes, the intermembrane space and the matrix, highlighting some of the questions that remain unanswered.
cAMP and cGMP signalling pathways are common targets in the pharmacological treatment of heart failure, and often drugs that modulate the level of these second messengers are simultaneously administered to patients. cGMP can potentially affect cAMP levels by modulating the activity of PDEs (phosphodiesterases), the enzymes that degrade cyclic nucleotides. This biochemical cross-talk provides the means for drugs that increase cGMP to concomitantly affect cAMP signals. Recent studies using FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) reporters and real-time imaging show that, in cardiac myocytes, the interplay between cGMP and cAMP has different outcomes depending on the specific location where the cross-modulation occurs. cGMP can either increase or decrease the cAMP response to catecholamines, based on the cyclase that generates it and on the PDEs associated with each subcellular compartment. cGMP-mediated modulation of cAMP signals has functional relevance as it affects protein phosphorylation downstream of protein kinase A and myocyte contractility. The physical separation of positive and negative modulation of cAMP levels by cGMP offers the previously unrecognized possibility to selectively modulate local cAMP signals to improve the efficacy of therapy.