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J Clin Invest. 2014 Jun;124(6):2785-801. doi: 10.1172/JCI64784. Epub 2014 Apr 24.

Epac1-dependent phospholamban phosphorylation mediates the cardiac response to stresses.


PKA phosphorylates multiple molecules involved in calcium (Ca2+) handling in cardiac myocytes and is considered to be the predominant regulator of β-adrenergic receptor-mediated enhancement of cardiac contractility; however, recent identification of exchange protein activated by cAMP (EPAC), which is independently activated by cAMP, has challenged this paradigm. Mice lacking Epac1 (Epac1 KO) exhibited decreased cardiac contractility with reduced phospholamban (PLN) phosphorylation at serine-16, the major PKA-mediated phosphorylation site. In Epac1 KO mice, intracellular Ca2+ storage and the magnitude of Ca2+ movement were decreased; however, PKA expression remained unchanged, and activation of PKA with isoproterenol improved cardiac contractility. In contrast, direct activation of EPAC in cardiomyocytes led to increased PLN phosphorylation at serine-16, which was dependent on PLC and PKCε. Importantly, Epac1 deletion protected the heart from various stresses, while Epac2 deletion was not protective. Compared with WT mice, aortic banding induced a similar degree of cardiac hypertrophy in Epac1 KO; however, lack of Epac1 prevented subsequent cardiac dysfunction as a result of decreased cardiac myocyte apoptosis and fibrosis. Similarly, Epac1 KO animals showed resistance to isoproterenol- and aging-induced cardiomyopathy and attenuation of arrhythmogenic activity. These data support Epac1 as an important regulator of PKA-independent PLN phosphorylation and indicate that Epac1 regulates cardiac responsiveness to various stresses.

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