A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs) coordinate cell signaling events. AKAP79 brings together different combinations of enzyme binding partners to customize the regulation of effector proteins. In neurons, muscarinic agonists mobilize an AKAP79-anchored pool of PKC that phosphorylates the KCNQ2 subunit of the M channel. This inhibits potassium permeability to enhance neuronal excitability. Using a dual fluorescent imaging/patch-clamp technique, we visualized AKAP79-anchored PKC phosphorylation of the kinase activity reporter CKAR concurrently with electrophysiological changes in KCNQ2 channels to show that AKAP79 synchronizes both signaling events to optimize the attenuation of M currents. AKAP79 also protects PKC from certain ATP-competitive inhibitors. Related studies suggest that context-dependent protein-protein interactions alter the susceptibility of another protein kinase, PDK1, to ATP analog inhibitors. This implies that intracellular binding partners not only couple individual molecular events in a cell signaling process but can also change the pharmacological profile of certain protein kinases.
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