Epac proteins respond to the second messenger cyclic AMP (cAMP) and are activated by Gs coupled receptors. They act as specific guanine nucleotide exchange factors (GEFs) for the small G proteins, Rap1 and Rap2 of the Ras family. A plethora of studies using 8-pCPT-2'-O-Me-cAMP, an Epac agonist, has revealed the importance of these multi-domain proteins in the control of key cellular functions such as cell division, migration, growth and secretion. Epac and protein kinase A (PKA) may act independently but are often associated with the same biological process, in which they fulfill either synergistic or opposite effects. In addition, compelling evidence is now accumulating about the formation of molecular complexes in distinct cellular compartments that influence Epac signaling and cellular function. Epac is spatially and temporally regulated by scaffold protein and its effectors are interconnected with other signaling pathways. Pathophysiological changes in Epac signaling may underlie certain diseases.
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