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Circ Res. 2007 Apr 13;100(7):950-66.

cAMP-Specific phosphodiesterase-4 enzymes in the cardiovascular system: a molecular toolbox for generating compartmentalized cAMP signaling.

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Molecular Pharmacology Group, Division of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UK.


Cyclic AMP regulates a vast number of distinct events in all cells. Early studies established that its hydrolysis by cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs) controlled both the magnitude and the duration of its influence. Recent evidence shows that PDEs also act as coincident detectors linking cyclic-nucleotide- and non-cyclic-nucleotide-based cellular signaling processes and are tethered with great selectively to defined intracellular structures, thereby integrating and spatially restricting their cellular effects in time and space. Although 11 distinct families of PDEs have been defined, and cells invariably express numerous individual PDE enzymes, a large measure of our increased appreciation of the roles of these enzymes in regulating cyclic nucleotide signaling has come from studies on the PDE4 family. Four PDE4 genes encode more than 20 isoforms. Alternative mRNA splicing and the use of different promoters allows cells the possibility of expressing numerous PDE4 enzymes, each with unique amino-terminal-targeting and/or regulatory sequences. Dominant negative and small interfering RNA-mediated knockdown strategies have proven that particular isoforms can uniquely control specific cellular functions. Thus the protein kinase A phosphorylation status of the beta(2) adrenoceptor and, thereby, its ability to switch its signaling to extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation, is uniquely regulated by PDE4D5 in cardiomyocytes. We describe how cardiomyocytes and vascular smooth muscle cells selectively vary both the expression and the catalytic activities of PDE4 isoforms to regulate their various functions and how altered regulation of these processes can influence the development, or resolution, of cardiovascular pathologies, such as heart failure, as well as various vasculopathies.

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