Epac-selective cAMP analogs: new tools with which to evaluate the signal transduction properties of cAMP-regulated guanine nucleotide exchange factors.
ABSTRACT: The identification of 2'-O-methyl substituted adenosine-3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP) analogs that activate the Epac family of cAMP-regulated guanine nucleotide exchange factors (cAMP-GEFs, also known as Epac1 and Epac2), has ushered in a new era of cyclic nucleotide research in which previously unrecognized signalling properties of the second messenger cAMP have been revealed. These Epac-Selective Cyclic AMP Analogs (ESCAs) incorporate a 2'-O-methyl substitution on the ribose ring of cAMP, a modification that impairs their ability to activate protein kinase A (PKA), while leaving intact their ability to activate Epac (the Exchange Protein directly Activated by Cyclic AMP). One such ESCA in wide-spread use is 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP. It is a cell-permeant derivative of 2'-O-Me-cAMP, and it is a super activator of Epac. A wealth of newly published studies demonstrate that 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP is a unique tool with which to asses atypical actions of cAMP that are PKA-independent. Particularly intriguing are recent reports demonstrating that ESCAs reproduce the PKA-independent actions of ligands known to stimulate Class I (Family A) and Class II (Family B) GTP-binding protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). This topical review summarizes the current state of knowledge regarding the molecular pharmacology and signal transduction properties of Epac-selective cAMP analogs. Special attention is focused on the rational drug design of ESCAs in order to improve their Epac selectivity, membrane permeability, and stability. Also emphasized is the usefulness of ESCAs as new tools with which to assess the role of Epac as a determinant of intracellular Ca2+ signalling, ion channel function, neurotransmitter release, and hormone secretion.
Project description:Analogs of the cyclic nucleotides cAMP and cGMP have been extensively used to mimic or modulate cellular events mediated by protein kinase A (PKA), Exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac), or protein kinase G (PKG). We report here that some of the most commonly used cyclic nucleotide analogs inhibit transmembrane transport mediated by the liver specific organic anion transporter peptides OATP1B1 and OATP1B3, unrelated to actions on Epac, PKA or PKG. Several cAMP analogs, particularly with 8-pCPT-substitution, inhibited nodularin (Nod) induced primary rat hepatocyte apoptosis. Inhibition was not mediated by PKA or Epac, since increased endogenous cAMP, and some strong PKA- or Epac-activating analogs failed to protect cells against Nod induced apoptosis. The cAMP analogs inhibiting Nod induced hepatocyte apoptosis also reduced accumulation of radiolabeled Nod or cholic acid in primary rat hepatocytes. They also inhibited Nod induced apoptosis in HEK293 cells with enforced expression of OATP1B1 or 1B3, responsible for Nod transport into cells. Similar results were found with adenosine analogs, disconnecting the inhibitory effect of certain cAMP analogs from PKA or Epac. The most potent inhibitors were 8-pCPT-6-Phe-cAMP and 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP, whereas analogs like 6-MB-cAMP or 8-Br-cAMP did not inhibit Nod uptake. This suggests that the addition of aromatic ring-containing substituents like the chloro-phenyl-thio group to the purines of cyclic nucleotides increases their ability to inhibit the OATP-mediated transport. Taken together, our data show that aromatic ring substituents can add unwanted effects to cyclic nucleotides, and that such nucleotide analogs must be used with care, particularly when working with cells expressing OATP1B1/1B3, like hepatocytes, or intact animals where hepatic metabolism can be an issue, as well as certain cancer cells. On the other hand, cAMP analogs with substituents like bromo, monobutyryl were non-inhibitory, and could be considered an alternative when working with cells expressing OATP1 family members.
Project description:To ascertain the identities of cyclic nucleotide-binding proteins that mediate the insulin secretagogue action of cAMP, the possible contributions of the exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac) and protein kinase A (PKA) were evaluated in a pancreatic beta cell line (rat INS-1 cells). Assays of Rap1 activation, CREB phosphorylation, and PKA-dependent gene expression were performed in combination with live cell imaging and high throughput screening of a fluorescence resonance energy transfer-based cAMP sensor (Epac1-camps) to validate the selectivity with which acetoxymethyl esters (AM-esters) of cAMP analogs preferentially activate Epac or PKA. Selective activation of Epac or PKA was achieved following exposure of INS-1 cells to 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP-AM or Bt(2)cAMP-AM, respectively. Both cAMP analogs exerted dose-dependent and glucose metabolism-dependent actions to stimulate insulin secretion, and when each was co-administered with the other, a supra-additive effect was observed. Because 2.4-fold more insulin was secreted in response to a saturating concentration (10 microm) of Bt(2)cAMP-AM as compared with 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP-AM, and because the action of Bt(2)cAMP-AM but not 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP-AM was nearly abrogated by treatment with 3 microm of the PKA inhibitor H-89, it is concluded that for INS-1 cells, it is PKA that acts as the dominant cAMP-binding protein in support of insulin secretion. Unexpectedly, 10-100 microm of the non-AM-ester of 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP failed to stimulate insulin secretion and was a weak activator of Rap1 in INS-1 cells. Moreover, 10 microm of the AM-ester of 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP stimulated insulin secretion from mouse islets, whereas the non-AM-ester did not. Thus, the membrane permeability of 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP in insulin-secreting cells is so low as to limit its biological activity. It is concluded that prior reports documenting the failure of 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP to act in beta cells, or other cell types, need to be re-evaluated through the use of the AM-ester of this cAMP analog.
Project description:Cyclic AMP activates two downstream factors, protein kinase A (PKA) and exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (EPAC) and both downstream signalings induce syncytialization, cell fusion and the production of hCG and progesterone. We used microarray to identify novel transcription factors related to syncytialization in two cAMP signaling-stimulated BeWo cells. Overall design: Human placenta choriocarcinoma cell line BeWo cells were treated without or with Epac- or PKA-selective cAMP analogs for 48 h, of which RNAs were extracted and subjected to Affymetrix microarrays.
Project description:Agonist activation of the small GTPase, RhoA, and its effector Rho kinase leads to down-regulation of smooth muscle (SM) myosin light chain phosphatase activity, an increase in myosin light chain (RLC(20)) phosphorylation and force. Cyclic nucleotides can reverse this process. We report a new mechanism of cAMP-mediated relaxation through Epac, a GTP exchange factor for the small GTPase Rap1 resulting in an increase in Rap1 activity and suppression of RhoA activity. An Epac-selective cAMP analog, 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP ("007"), significantly reduced agonist-induced contractile force, RLC(20), and myosin light chain phosphatase phosphorylation in both intact and permeabilized vascular, gut, and airway SMs independently of PKA and PKG. The vasodilator PGI(2) analog, cicaprost, increased Rap1 activity and decreased RhoA activity in intact SMs. Forskolin, phosphodiesterase inhibitor isobutylmethylxanthine, and isoproterenol also significantly increased Rap1-GTP in rat aortic SM cells. The PKA inhibitor H89 was without effect on the 007-induced increase in Rap1-GTP. Lysophosphatidic acid-induced RhoA activity was reduced by treatment with 007 in WT but not Rap1B null fibroblasts, consistent with Epac signaling through Rap1B to down-regulate RhoA activity. Isoproterenol-induced increase in Rap1 activity was inhibited by silencing Epac1 in rat aortic SM cells. Evidence is presented that cooperative cAMP activation of PKA and Epac contribute to relaxation of SM. Our findings demonstrate a cAMP-mediated signaling mechanism whereby activation of Epac results in a PKA-independent, Rap1-dependent Ca(2+) desensitization of force in SM through down-regulation of RhoA activity. Cyclic AMP inhibition of RhoA is mediated through activation of both Epac and PKA.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Nephrotoxicity is the principal dose-limiting factor for cisplatin chemotherapy and is primarily associated with proximal tubular epithelial cells, including disruption of cell adhesions and induction of apoptosis. Cell adhesion and survival is regulated by, amongst other factors, the small GTPase Rap and its activator, the exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac). Epac is particularly enriched in renal tubule epithelium. This study investigates the cytoprotective effects of cAMP-Epac-Rap signalling in a model of cisplatin-induced renal cell injury. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: The Epac-selective cAMP analogue 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP was used to activate the Epac-Rap signalling pathway in proximal tubular epithelial cells. Cells were exposed to cisplatin, in the presence or absence of 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP, and nephrotoxicity was determined by monitoring cell-cell junctions and cell apoptosis. KEY RESULTS: Activation of Epac-Rap signalling preserves cell-cell junctions and protects against cell apoptosis of mouse proximal tubular cells during cisplatin treatment. Activation with the Epac-selective cAMP analogue 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP or receptor-mediated induction of cAMP both induced cytoprotection against cisplatin, whereas a PKA-selective cAMP analogue was not cytoprotective. 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP mediated cytoprotection was blocked by RNAi-mediated silencing of Epac-Rap signalling in these cells. In contrast, 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP did not protect against cisplatin-induced cell death of cancer cells that lacked Epac1 expression. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Our study identifies activation of Epac-Rap signalling as a potential strategy for reducing the nephrotoxicity associated with cisplatin treatments and, as a result, broadens the therapeutic window of this chemotherapeutic agent.
Project description:The Na(+)/H(+) exchanger 3 (NHE3) is expressed in the brush border membrane (BBM) of proximal tubules (PT). Its activity is down-regulated on increases in intracellular cAMP levels. The aim of this study was to investigate the contribution of the protein kinase A (PKA) and the exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (EPAC) dependent pathways in the regulation of NHE3 by adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cAMP). Opossum kidney cells and murine kidney slices were treated with cAMP analogs, which selectively activate either PKA or EPAC. Activation of either pathway resulted in an inhibition of NHE3 activity. The EPAC-induced effect was independent of PKA as indicated by the lack of activation of the kinase and the insensitivity to the PKA inhibitor H89. Both PKA and EPAC inhibited NHE3 activity without inducing changes in the expression of the transporter in BBM. Activation of PKA, but not of EPAC, led to an increase of NHE3 phosphorylation. In contrast, activation of PKA, but not of EPAC, inhibited renal type IIa Na(+)-coupled inorganic phosphate cotransporter (NaPi-IIa), another Na-dependent transporter expressed in proximal BBM. PKA, but not EPAC, induced the retrieval of NaPi-IIa from BBM. Our results suggest that EPAC activation may represent a previously unrecognized mechanism involved in the cAMP regulation of NHE3, whereas regulation of NaPi-IIa is mediated by PKA but not by EPAC.
Project description:Cyclic AMP analogs containing hydrophobic modification of C(8) at the adenine ring such as 8-(4-chlorophenylthio)-cAMP (8-pCPT-cAMP) and 8-(4-chlorophenylthio)-2'-O-methyl-cAMP (8-pCPT-2'-O-methyl-cAMP) can penetrate membranes due to their high lipophilicity and directly activate intracellular cAMP effectors. Therefore, these cAMP analogs have been used in numerous studies, assuming that their effects reflect the consequences of direct activation of cAMP effectors. The present study provides evidence that 8-pCPT-modified cAMP analogs and their corresponding putative hydrolysis products (8-(4-chlorophenylthio)-adenosine (8-pCPT-ado) and 8-(4-chlorophenylthio)-2'-O-methyl-adenosine (8-pCPT-2'-O-methyl-ado)) inhibit the equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1). In PC12 cells, in which nucleoside transport strongly depended on ENT1, 8-pCPT-ado, 8-pCPT-2'-O-methyl-ado, and, to a smaller extent, 8-pCPT-2'-O-methyl-cAMP caused an increase of protein kinase A substrate motif phosphorylation and anti-apoptotic effect by an A(2A) adenosine receptor (A(2A)R)-dependent mechanism. In contrast, the effects of 8-pCPT-cAMP were mainly A(2A)R-independent. In HEK 293 showing little endogenous ENT1-dependent nucleoside transport, transfection of ENT1 conferred A(2A)R-dependent increase in protein kinase A substrate motif phosphorylation. Together, the data of the present study indicate that inhibition of ENT1 and activation of adenosine receptors have to be considered when interpreting the effects of 8-pCPT-substituted cAMP/adenosine analogs.
Project description:Regrowth of peripheral spiral ganglion neuron (SGN) fibers is a primary objective in efforts to improve cochlear implant outcomes and to potentially reinnervate regenerated hair cells. Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) regulates neurite growth and guidance via activation of protein kinase A (PKA) and Exchange Protein directly Activated by Cylic AMP (Epac). Here we explored the effects of cAMP signaling on SGN neurite length in vitro. We find that the cAMP analog, cpt-cAMP, exerts a biphasic effect on neurite length; increasing length at lower concentrations and reducing length at higher concentrations. This biphasic response occurs in cultures plated on laminin, fibronectin, or tenascin C suggesting that it is not substrate dependent. cpt-cAMP also reduces SGN neurite branching. The Epac-specific agonist, 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP, does not alter SGN neurite length. Constitutively active PKA isoforms strongly inhibit SGN neurite length similar to higher levels of cAMP. Chronic membrane depolarization activates PKA in SGNs and also inhibits SGN neurite length. However, inhibition of PKA fails to rescue neurite length in depolarized cultures implying that activation of PKA is not necessary for the inhibition of SGN neurite length by chronic depolarization. Expression of constitutively active phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, but not c-Jun N-terminal kinase, isoforms partially rescues SGN neurite length in the presence of activated PKA. Taken together, these results suggest that activation of cAMP/PKA represents a potential strategy to enhance SGN fiber elongation following deafness; however such therapies will likely require careful titration so as to promote rather than inhibit nerve fiber regeneration.
Project description:Bovine adrenal zona fasciculata (AZF) cells express bTREK-1 K(+) channels that set the resting membrane potential and function pivotally in the physiology of cortisol secretion. Inhibition of these K(+) channels by adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) or cAMP is coupled to depolarization and Ca(2+) entry. The mechanism of ACTH and cAMP-mediated inhibition of bTREK-1 was explored in whole cell patch clamp recordings from AZF cells. Inhibition of bTREK-1 by ACTH and forskolin was not affected by the addition of both H-89 and PKI (6-22) amide to the pipette solution at concentrations that completely blocked activation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) in these cells. The ACTH derivative, O-nitrophenyl, sulfenyl-adrenocorticotropin (NPS-ACTH), at concentrations that produced little or no activation of PKA, inhibited bTREK-1 by a Ca(2+)-independent mechanism. Northern blot analysis showed that bovine AZF cells robustly express mRNA for Epac2, a guanine nucleotide exchange protein activated by cAMP. The selective Epac activator, 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP, applied intracellularly through the patch pipette, inhibited bTREK-1 (IC(50) = 0.63 microM) at concentrations that did not activate PKA. Inhibition by this agent was unaffected by PKA inhibitors, including RpcAMPS, but was eliminated in the absence of hydrolyzable ATP. Culturing AZF cells in the presence of ACTH markedly reduced the expression of Epac2 mRNA. 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP failed to inhibit bTREK-1 current in AZF cells that had been treated with ACTH for 3-4 d while inhibition by 8-br-cAMP was not affected. 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP failed to inhibit bTREK-1 expressed in HEK293 cells, which express little or no Epac2. These findings demonstrate that, in addition to the well-described PKA-dependent TREK-1 inhibition, ACTH, NPS-ACTH, forskolin, and 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP also inhibit these K(+) channels by a PKA-independent signaling pathway. The convergent inhibition of bTREK-1 through parallel PKA- and Epac-dependent mechanisms may provide for failsafe membrane depolarization by ACTH.
Project description:The signaling molecule cAMP primarily mediates its effects by activating PKA and/or exchange protein activated by cAMP (Epac). Epac has been implicated in many responses in cells, but its precise roles have been difficult to define in the absence of Epac inhibitors. Epac, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for the low molecular weight G protein Rap, is directly activated by cAMP. Using a bioluminescence resonance energy transfer-based assay (CAMYEL) to examine modulators of Epac activity, we took advantage of its intramolecular movement that occurs upon cAMP binding to assess Epac activation. We found that the use of CAMYEL can detect the binding of cAMP analogs to Epac and their modulation of its activity and can distinguish between agonists (cAMP), partial agonists (8-chlorophenylthio-cAMP), and super agonists (8-chlorophenylthio-2'-O-Me-cAMP). The CAMYEL assay can also identify competitive and uncompetitive Epac inhibitors, e.g. (Rp)-cAMPS and CE3F4, respectively. To confirm the results with the CAMYEL assay, we used Swiss 3T3 cells and assessed the ability of cyclic nucleotide analogs to modulate the activity of Epac or PKA, determined by Rap1 activity or VASP phosphorylation, respectively. We used computational molecular modeling to analyze the interaction of analogs with Epac1. The results reveal a rapid means to identify modulators (potentially including allosteric inhibitors) of Epac activity that also provides insight into the mechanisms of Epac activation and inhibition.