The Popeye domain-containing gene family encodes a novel class of cAMP effector proteins in striated muscle tissue. In this short review, we first introduce the protein family and discuss their structure and function with an emphasis on their role in cyclic AMP signalling. Another focus of this review is the recently discovered role of POPDC genes as striated muscle disease genes, which have been associated with cardiac arrhythmia and muscular dystrophy. The pathological phenotypes observed in patients will be compared with phenotypes present in null and knockin mutations in zebrafish and mouse. A number of protein–protein interaction partners have been discovered and the potential role of POPDC proteins to control the subcellular localization and function of these interacting proteins will be discussed. Finally, we outline several areas, where research is urgently needed.
Popdc (Popeye-domain-containing) genes encode membrane-bound proteins and are abundantly present in cardiac myocytes and in skeletal muscle fibres. Functional analysis of Popdc1 ( Bves ) and Popdc2 in mice and of popdc2 in zebrafish revealed an overlapping role for proper electrical conduction in the heart and maintaining structural integrity of skeletal muscle. Popdc proteins mediate cAMP signalling and modulate the biological activity of interacting proteins. The two-pore channel TREK-1 interacts with all three Popdc proteins. In Xenopus oocytes, the presence of Popdc proteins causes an enhanced membrane transport leading to an increase in TREK-1 current, which is blocked when cAMP levels are increased. Another important Popdc-interacting protein is caveolin 3, and the loss of Popdc1 affects caveolar size. Thus a family of membrane-bound cAMP-binding proteins has been identified, which modulate the subcellular localization of effector proteins involved in organizing signalling complexes and assuring proper membrane physiology of cardiac myocytes.