Epac: defining a new mechanism for cAMP action

Annu Rev Pharmacol Toxicol. 2010:50:355-75. doi: 10.1146/annurev.pharmtox.010909.105714.


cAMP is a second messenger that is essential for relaying hormonal responses in many biological processes. The discovery of the cAMP target Epac explained various effects of cAMP that could not be attributed to the established targets PKA and cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels. Epac1 and Epac2 function as guanine nucleotide exchange factors for the small G protein Rap. cAMP analogs that selectively activate Epac have helped to reveal a role for Epac in processes ranging from insulin secretion to cardiac contraction and vascular permeability. Advances in the understanding of the activation mechanism of Epac and its regulation by diverse anchoring mechanisms have helped to elucidate the means by which cAMP fulfills these functions via Epac.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Capillary Permeability
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology*
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / physiology
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / agonists
  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / etiology
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Kidney / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / physiology


  • Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factors
  • Insulin
  • RAPGEF3 protein, human
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • Calcium