Heart and Circulatory Physiology

Role of soluble adenylyl cyclase in the heart

Jonathan Chen, Lonny R. Levin, Jochen Buck


This review discusses the potential place of soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC) in the framework of signaling in the cardiovascular system. cAMP has been studied as a critical and pleiotropic second messenger in cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, and smooth muscle vascular cells for many years. It is involved in the transduction of signaling by catecholamines, prostaglandins, adenosine, and glucagon, just to name a few. These hormones can act via cAMP by binding to a G protein-coupled receptor on the plasma membrane with subsequent activation of a heterotrimeric G protein and its downstream effector, transmembrane adenylyl cyclase. This has long been the canonical standard for cAMP production in a cell. However, the relatively recent discovery of a unique source of cAMP, sAC, creates the potential for a shift in this signaling paradigm. In fact, sAC has been shown to play a role in apoptosis in coronary endothelial cells and cardiomyocytes. Additionally, it links nutrient utilization with ATP production in the liver and brain, which suggests one of many potential roles for sAC in cardiac function. The possibility of producing cAMP from a source distal to the plasma membrane provides a critical new building block for reconstructing the cellular signaling infrastructure.

  • adenosine 3′,5′-cyclic monophosphate
  • compartmentalization
  • cardiomyocytes
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