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Pflugers Arch. 2010 Mar;459(4):535-46. doi: 10.1007/s00424-009-0747-y. Epub 2009 Oct 25.

Role of the cAMP-binding protein Epac in cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology.

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Inserm, UMR-S 769, Signalisation et Physiopathologie Cardiaque, Châtenay-Malabry 92296, France.


Exchange proteins directly activated by cyclic AMP (Epac) were discovered 10 years ago as new sensors for the second messenger cyclic AMP (cAMP). Epac family, including Epac1 and Epac2, are guanine nucleotide exchange factors for the Ras-like small GTPases Rap1 and Rap2 and function independently of protein kinase A. Given the importance of cAMP in the cardiovascular system, numerous molecular and cellular studies using specific Epac agonists have analyzed the role and the regulation of Epac proteins in cardiovascular physiology and pathophysiology. The specific functions of Epac proteins may depend upon their microcellular environments as well as their expression and localization. This review discusses recent data showing the involvement of Epac in vascular cell migration, endothelial permeability, and inflammation through specific signaling pathways. In addition, we present evidence that Epac regulates the activity of various cellular compartments of the cardiac myocyte and influences calcium handling and excitation-contraction coupling. The potential role of Epac in cardiovascular disorders such as cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling is also discussed.

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