AKAP-mediated feedback control of cAMP gradients in developing hippocampal neurons

Nat Chem Biol. 2017 Apr;13(4):425-431. doi: 10.1038/nchembio.2298. Epub 2017 Feb 13.


Cyclic AMP (cAMP) and protein kinase A (PKA), classical examples of spatially compartmentalized signaling molecules, are critical axon determinants that regulate neuronal polarity and axon formation, yet little is known about micro-compartmentalization of cAMP and PKA signaling and its role in developing neurons. Here, we revealed that cAMP forms a gradient in developing hippocampal neurons, with higher cAMP levels in more distal regions of the axon compared to other regions of the cell. Interestingly, this cAMP gradient changed according to the developmental stage and depended on proper anchoring of PKA by A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs). Disrupting PKA anchoring to AKAPs increased the cAMP gradient in early-stage neurons and led to enhanced axon elongation. Our results provide new evidence for a local negative-feedback loop, assembled by AKAPs, for the precise control of a growth-stage-dependent cAMP gradient to ensure proper axon growth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • A Kinase Anchor Proteins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism*
  • Feedback, Physiological*
  • Hippocampus / cytology*
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • A Kinase Anchor Proteins
  • Cyclic AMP