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Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Jan;25(1):136-46.

Cyclic AMP potentiates vascular endothelial cadherin-mediated cell-cell contact to enhance endothelial barrier function through an Epac-Rap1 signaling pathway.

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Department of Structural Analysis, National Cardiovascular Center Research Institute, 5-7-1 Fujishirodai, Suita, Osaka 565-8565, Japan.


Cyclic AMP (cAMP) is a well-known intracellular signaling molecule improving barrier function in vascular endothelial cells. Here, we delineate a novel cAMP-triggered signal that regulates the barrier function. We found that cAMP-elevating reagents, prostacyclin and forskolin, decreased cell permeability and enhanced vascular endothelial (VE) cadherin-dependent cell adhesion. Although the decreased permeability and the increased VE-cadherin-mediated adhesion by prostacyclin and forskolin were insensitive to a specific inhibitor for cAMP-dependent protein kinase, these effects were mimicked by 8-(4-chlorophenylthio)-2'-O-methyladenosine-3', 5'-cyclic monophosphate, a specific activator for Epac, which is a novel cAMP-dependent guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rap1. Thus, we investigated the effect of Rap1 on permeability and the VE-cadherin-mediated cell adhesion by expressing either constitutive active Rap1 or Rap1GAPII. Activation of Rap1 resulted in a decrease in permeability and enhancement of VE-cadherin-dependent cell adhesion, whereas inactivation of Rap1 had the counter effect. Furthermore, prostacyclin and forskolin induced cortical actin rearrangement in a Rap1-dependent manner. In conclusion, cAMP-Epac-Rap1 signaling promotes decreased cell permeability by enhancing VE-cadherin-mediated adhesion lined by the rearranged cortical actin.

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