This study delineates a mechanism for antiapoptotic signaling initiated by atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) stimulation leading to elevation of cGMP levels and subsequent nuclear accumulation of Akt kinase associated with zyxin, a cytoskeletal LIM-domain protein. Nuclear targeting of zyxin induces resistance to cell death coincident with nuclear accumulation of activated Akt. Nuclear translocation of zyxin triggered by cGMP also promotes nuclear Akt accumulation. Additional supportive evidence for nuclear accumulation of zyxin-enhancing cardiomyocyte survival includes the following: (a) promotion of zyxin nuclear localization by cardioprotective stimuli; (b) zyxin association with phospho-Akt473 induced by cardioprotective stimuli; and (c) recruitment of zyxin to the nucleus by activated nuclear-targeted Akt as well as recruitment of Akt by nuclear-targeted zyxin. Nuclear accumulation of zyxin requires both Akt activation and nuclear localization. Potentiation of cell survival is sensitive to stimulation intensity with high-level induction by ANP or cGMP signaling leading to apoptotic cell death rather than enhancing resistance to apoptotic stimuli. Myocardial nuclear accumulation of zyxin and Akt responds similarly in vivo following treatment of mice with ANP or cGMP. Thus, zyxin and activated Akt participate in a cGMP-dependent signaling cascade leading from ANP receptors to nuclear accumulation of both molecules. Nuclear accumulation of zyxin and activated Akt may represent a fundamental mechanism that facilitates nuclear-signal transduction and potentiates cell survival.