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Wiley Interdiscip Rev Syst Biol Med. 2013 Jul-Aug;5(4):409-24. doi: 10.1002/wsbm.1223. Epub 2013 Apr 22.

Cyclic nucleotide signaling in intestinal epithelia: getting to the gut of the matter.

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Department of Molecular Reproduction, Development and Genetics, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India.


The intestine is the primary site of nutrient absorption, fluid-ion secretion, and home to trillions of symbiotic microbiota. The high turnover of the intestinal epithelia also renders it susceptible to neoplastic growth. These diverse processes are carefully regulated by an intricate signaling network. Among the myriad molecules involved in intestinal epithelial cell homeostasis are the second messengers, cyclic AMP (cAMP) and cyclic GMP (cGMP). These cyclic nucleotides are synthesized by nucleotidyl cyclases whose activities are regulated by extrinsic and intrinsic cues. Downstream effectors of cAMP and cGMP include protein kinases, cyclic nucleotide gated ion channels, and transcription factors, which modulate key processes such as ion-balance, immune response, and cell proliferation. The web of interaction involving the major signaling pathways of cAMP and cGMP in the intestinal epithelial cell, and possible cross-talk among the pathways, are highlighted in this review. Deregulation of these pathways occurs during infection by pathogens, intestinal inflammation, and cancer. Thus, an appreciation of the importance of cyclic nucleotide signaling in the intestine furthers our understanding of bowel disease, thereby aiding in the development of therapeutic approaches.

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