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Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Jun;968:256-70.

Protein kinase A signaling: "cross-talk" with other pathways in endocrine cells.

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Unit on Genetics and Endocrinology, Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Maryland 20892-1862, USA.


Protein kinase A (PKA) signaling, in "classic" endocrine cell functioning, is known to mediate cAMP effects, generated through adenylate cyclase as a response to the activation of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). This signaling system is highly versatile; its flexibility is supported by a number of adenylate cyclases, four PKA regulatory and three catalytic subunits, and several phosphodiesterases that close the negative feedback loop of cAMP generation, most molecules that are expressed in a tissue-specific manner. A central question, however, remains: how do the hundreds of GPCRs mediate their specific effects? Tissue specificity of the expression of the various components of the PKA system, albeit necessary, cannot be the only answer. It helps more to view PKA as a central hub that interacts with a variety of other signaling pathways in endocrine cells, not only mediating but also communicating cAMP effects to the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), protein kinase C and B (PKC and PKB/Akt, respectively). The net result of these complex interactions, evidence for which is reviewed in this chapter, is what we know as "cAMP effects." It is, perhaps, because of this complexity that investigations of PKA signaling in vivo and in vitro often give contradictory results and are difficult to interpret.

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