Capturing cyclic nucleotides in action: snapshots from crystallographic studies

Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2007 Jan;8(1):63-73. doi: 10.1038/nrm2082.


Fifty years ago, cyclic AMP was discovered as a second messenger of hormone action, heralding the age of signal transduction. Many cellular processes were found to be regulated by cAMP and the related cyclic GMP. Cyclic nucleotides function by binding to and activating their effectors - protein kinase A, protein kinase G, cyclic-nucleotide-regulated ion channels and the guanine nucleotide-exchange factor Epac. Recent structural insights have now made it possible to propose a general structural mechanism for how cyclic nucleotides regulate these proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Cyclic AMP / chemistry*
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic GMP / chemistry*
  • Cyclic GMP / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / chemistry
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Protein Kinases / chemistry
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / metabolism


  • Ion Channels
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Protein Kinases
  • Cyclic GMP