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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Sep;86(9):4495-503.

Expression and regulation of adenylyl cyclase isoforms in the human adrenal gland.

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  • 1Service of Endocrinology, Department of Medicine, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada J1H 5N4.


The aim of the present study was to identify which adenylyl cyclase isoforms were expressed in the human adrenal gland and to determine which isoform(s) may be coupled to ACTH action. Our results indicate that, in both glomerulosa and fasciculata zones, adenylyl cyclase 1 was detected in cells at the membrane level, adenylyl cyclases 3 and 2 in both the cytoplasm and the plasma membrane, whereas adenylyl cyclase 5/6 and adenylyl cyclase 4 were found mainly in cytoplasm. The levels of expression of each isoform were similar between the two adrenocortical zones, except for adenylyl cyclase 5/6, which had a lower level of expression in the zona fasciculata. We next evaluated the role of the various adenylyl cyclase isoforms during ACTH-stimulated cAMP production in both glomerulosa and fasciculata cell preparations. Corroborating with previous observations, we found that calcium had a biphasic effect on cAMP production. Interestingly, pertussis toxin treatment increased cAMP production, indicating that, in addition to Gs, ACTH is coupled to a Gi protein. Incubation with the betagamma-subunit sequestrant peptide QEHA decreased cAMP production, as did incubation with inhibitory antibodies against either adenylyl cyclase 2 or adenylyl cyclase 5/6. Inhibitory adenylyl cyclase 3 antibodies interfered with ACTH action only in the zona fasciculata. Altogether these data indicate that adrenocortical cells express one or two isoforms of each class of adenylyl cyclases and, thus, have the ability to produce cAMP in response to various regulatory, intracellular mediators. Importantly, our results indicate that in the human adrenal gland, ACTH acts mainly through adenylyl cyclase 5/6 and adenylyl cyclase 2/4, whereas the effect of ACTH on adenylyl cyclase 3 activity may be a consequence of calcium influx.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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