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Biochem Cell Biol. 1992 Dec;70(12):1283-9.

Cross-activation: overriding cAMP/cGMP selectivities of protein kinases in tissues.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-0615.


cAMP- and cGMP-dependent protein kinases are homologous proteins and are predicted to exhibit very similar three-dimensional structures. Their cyclic nucleotide binding domains share a high degree of amino acid sequence identity. cAMP- and cGMP-dependent protein kinases are activated relatively specifically by cAMP and cGMP, respectively; and a single alanine-threonine difference between cAMP- and cGMP-binding domains partially accounts for this specificity. Thus, it would be expected that cAMP and cGMP mediate separate physiological effects. However, owing in part to the lack of absolute specificity of either enzyme and to the relatively high level of cAMP or cGMP in certain tissues, it is also possible that either cyclic nucleotide could cross-activate the other kinase. Increases in either cAMP or cGMP cause pig coronary artery relaxation. However, only cGMP-dependent protein kinase specific cyclic nucleotide analogues are very effective in causing relaxation, and cAMP elevation in arteries treated with isoproterenol or forskolin activates cGMP-dependent protein kinase, in addition to cAMP-dependent protein kinase. Conversely, increases in either cAMP or cGMP cause Cl- secretion in T-84 colon carcinoma cells, and the cGMP level in T-84 cells can be elevated sufficiently by bacterial enterotoxin to activate cAMP-dependent protein kinase. These results imply specific regulation of cAMP- and cGMP-dependent protein kinases by the respective cyclic nucleotides, but either cyclic nucleotide is able to cross-activate the other kinase in certain tissues.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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