A RSK(y) Relationship with Promiscuous PKA

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Science's STKE  22 Aug 2006:
Vol. 2006, Issue 349, pp. pe32
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3492006pe32

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Where, when, and with "whom" do molecules interact? Such relations in space and time are key concepts that currently engage investigators of cellular signaling processes. The notion of compartmentalized signaling grew out of studies of adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate (cAMP) signaling processes, and this area continues to generate exciting new paradigms. Distinct clouds of cAMP are formed and shaped within cells by tethered cAMP phosphodiesterases (PDEs). AKAPosomes, formed from distinct subpopulations of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) tethered to anchoring proteins (AKAPs) together with specific substrate molecules, interpret these gradients to generate individualized responses. PKA activity is also regulated by the interaction of other proteins with the regulatory (R) or catalytic (C) subunits of PKA, and a mechanism has been uncovered in which ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK1) interacts with either PKA subunit, depending on whether RSK1 has been phosphorylated and activated by extracellular signal–regulated kinase (ERK). Thus, inactive RSK1 binds the RI subunit of PKA to sensitize it to activation, whereas activated RSK1 binds the C subunit to desensitize PKA to cAMP activation. Cross-talk between the key cAMP and ERK signaling pathways provides a mechanism that, along with distinct mechanisms of both positive and negative attenuation provided by Raf and PDE4 isoforms, can be tailored on a cell type–specific basis.

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