Compartmentalized signalling: spatial regulation of cAMP by the action of compartmentalized phosphodiesterases

FEBS J. 2009 Apr;276(7):1790-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1742-4658.2009.06926.x. Epub 2009 Feb 23.


cAMP is the original second messenger that is synthesized in response to a number of extracellular stimuli. Recent advances in cAMP reporter technology have given an insight into how cAMP signals retain their specificity. Spatial and temporal cAMP dynamics are regulated by discretely positioned phosphodiesterases that act as sinks to create simultaneous, multiple cAMP gradients in many cellular locations. Such gradients are sampled within microdomains that contain anchored cAMP effector proteins. Compartmentalization of proteins that produce, degrade and are activated by cAMP is crucial for the specificity of action required for normal cell function.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Compartmentation / physiology
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4 / analysis
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4 / metabolism
  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Models, Biological
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Cyclic Nucleotide-Gated Cation Channels
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Phosphoric Diester Hydrolases
  • Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 4