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Chem Biol. 2007 Sep;14(9):1031-42.

Isoform-specific PKA dynamics revealed by dye-triggered aggregation and DAKAP1alpha-mediated localization in living cells.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of California, San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.


The tetracysteine sequence YRECCPGCCMWR fused to the N terminus of green fluorescent protein (GFP) self-aggregates upon biarsenical labeling in living cells or in vitro. Such dye-triggered aggregates form temperature-dependent morphologies and are dispersed by photobleaching. Fusion of the biarsenical aggregating GFP to the regulatory (R) or catalytic (C) subunit of PKA traps intact holoenzyme in compact fluorescent puncta upon biarsenical labeling. Contrary to the classical model of PKA activation, elevated cAMP does not allow RIalpha and Calpha to diffuse far apart unless the pseudosubstrate inhibitor PKI or locally concentrated substrate is coexpressed. However, RIIalpha releases Calpha upon elevated cAMP alone, dependent on autophosphorylation of the RIIalpha inhibitory domain. DAKAP1alpha overexpression induced R and C outer mitochondrial colocalization and showed similar regulation. Overall, effective separation of type I PKA is substrate dependent, whereas type II PKA dissociation relies on autophosphorylation.

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