Research ArticleCell Biology

Spatial Control of Epac2 Activity by cAMP and Ca2+-Mediated Activation of Ras in Pancreatic β Cells

Science Signaling  30 Apr 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 273, pp. ra29
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003932

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Abstract

The cAMP (adenosine 3′,5′-monophosphate)–activated guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) Epac2 is an important mediator of cAMP-dependent processes in multiple cell types. We used real-time confocal and total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy to examine the spatiotemporal regulation of Epac2, which is a GEF for the guanosine triphosphatase (GTPase) Rap. We demonstrated that increases in the concentration of cAMP triggered the translocation of Epac2 from the cytoplasm to the plasma membrane in insulin-secreting β cells. Glucose-induced oscillations of the submembrane concentration of cAMP were associated with cyclic translocation of Epac2, and this translocation could be amplified by increases in the cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentration. Analyses of Epac2 mutants identified the high-affinity cAMP-binding and the Ras association domains as crucial for the translocation. Expression of a dominant-negative Ras mutant reduced Epac2 translocation, and Ca2+-dependent oscillations in Ras activity synchronized with Epac2 translocation in single β cells. The cyclic translocation of Epac2 was accompanied by oscillations of Rap GTPase activity at the plasma membrane, and expression of an inactive Rap1B mutant decreased insulin secretion. Thus, Epac2 localization is dynamically controlled by cAMP as well as by Ca2+-mediated activation of Ras. These results help to explain how oscillating signals can produce pulses of insulin release from pancreatic β cells.

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