Regulation of neuronal PKA signaling through AKAP targeting dynamics

Eur J Cell Biol. 2006 Jul;85(7):627-33. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2006.01.010. Epub 2006 Feb 28.


Central to organization of signaling pathways are scaffolding, anchoring and adaptor proteins that mediate localized assembly of multi-protein complexes containing receptors, second messenger-generating enzymes, kinases, phosphatases, and substrates. At the postsynaptic density (PSD) of excitatory synapses, AMPA (AMPAR) and NMDA (NMDAR) glutamate receptors are linked to signaling proteins, the actin cytoskeleton, and synaptic adhesion molecules on dendritic spines through a network of scaffolding proteins that may play important roles regulating synaptic structure and receptor functions in synaptic plasticity underlying learning and memory. AMPARs are rapidly recruited to dendritic spines through NMDAR activation during induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) through pathways that also increase the size and F-actin content of spines. Phosphorylation of AMPAR-GluR1 subunits by the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) helps stabilize AMPARs recruited during LTP. In contrast, induction of long-term depression (LTD) leads to rapid calcineurin-protein phosphatase 2B (CaN) mediated dephosphorylation of PKA-phosphorylated GluR1 receptors, endocytic removal of AMPAR from synapses, and a reduction in spine size. However, mechanisms for coordinately regulating AMPAR localization, phosphorylation, and synaptic structure by PKA and CaN are not well understood. A kinase-anchoring protein (AKAP) 79/150 is a PKA- and CaN-anchoring protein that is linked to NMDARs and AMPARs through PSD-95 and SAP97 membrane-associated guanylate kinase (MAGUK) scaffolds. Importantly, disruption of PKA-anchoring in neurons and functional analysis of GluR1-MAGUK-AKAP79 complexes in heterologous cells suggests that AKAP79/150-anchored PKA and CaN may regulate AMPARs in LTD. In the work presented at the "First International Meeting on Anchored cAMP Signaling Pathways" (Berlin-Buch, Germany, October 15-16, 2005), we demonstrate that AKAP79/150 is targeted to dendritic spines by an N-terminal basic region that binds phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate (PIP(2)), F-actin, and actin-linked cadherin adhesion molecules. Thus, anchoring of PKA and CaN as well as physical linkage of the AKAP to both cadherin-cytoskeletal and MAGUK-receptor complexes could play roles in coordinating changes in synaptic structure and receptor signaling functions underlying plasticity. Importantly, we provide evidence showing that NMDAR-CaN signaling pathways implicated in AMPAR regulation during LTD lead to a disruption of AKAP79/150 interactions with actin, MAGUKs, and cadherins and lead to a loss of the AKAP and anchored PKA from postsynapses. Our studies thus far indicate that this AKAP79/150 translocation depends on activation of CaN, F-actin reorganization, and possibly Ca(2+)-CaM binding to the N-terminal basic regions. Importantly, this tranlocation of the AKAP79/150-PKA complex from spines may shift the balance of PKA kinase and CaN/PP1 phosphatase activity at the postsynapse in favor of the phosphatases. This loss of PKA could then promote actions of CaN and PP1 during induction of LTD including maintaining AMPAR dephosphorylation, promoting AMPAR endocytosis, and preventing AMPAR recycling. Overall, these findings challenge the accepted notion that AKAPs are static anchors that position signaling proteins near fixed target substrates and instead suggest that AKAPs can function in more dynamic manners to regulate local signaling events.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • A Kinase Anchor Proteins
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Potentiation
  • Long-Term Synaptic Depression
  • Models, Biological
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neuronal Plasticity
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neurotoxins / adverse effects
  • Nuclear Matrix-Associated Proteins / metabolism
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases / metabolism
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptors, AMPA / metabolism
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Synapses / metabolism
  • Tissue Distribution


  • A Kinase Anchor Proteins
  • AKAP5 protein, human
  • Actins
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Akap5 protein, rat
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Neurotoxins
  • Nuclear Matrix-Associated Proteins
  • Receptors, AMPA
  • Receptors, N-Methyl-D-Aspartate
  • postsynaptic density proteins
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Phosphoric Monoester Hydrolases