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Biochem Soc Trans. 2019 Nov 14. pii: BST20190246. doi: 10.1042/BST20190246. [Epub ahead of print]

Elucidating cyclic AMP signaling in subcellular domains with optogenetic tools and fluorescent biosensors.

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Institute of Innate Immunity, Biophysical Imaging, University Hospital Bonn, University of Bonn, 53127 Bonn, Germany.
Research Group Molecular Physiology, Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (Caesar), 53175 Bonn, Germany.


The second messenger 3',5'-cyclic nucleoside adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) plays a key role in signal transduction across prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Cyclic AMP signaling is compartmentalized into microdomains to fulfil specific functions. To define the function of cAMP within these microdomains, signaling needs to be analyzed with spatio-temporal precision. To this end, optogenetic approaches and genetically encoded fluorescent biosensors are particularly well suited. Synthesis and hydrolysis of cAMP can be directly manipulated by photoactivated adenylyl cyclases (PACs) and light-regulated phosphodiesterases (PDEs), respectively. In addition, many biosensors have been designed to spatially and temporarily resolve cAMP dynamics in the cell. This review provides an overview about optogenetic tools and biosensors to shed light on the subcellular organization of cAMP signaling.


biosensors; cAMP; optogenetics


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