Research ArticleNeuroscience

Rapgef2 Connects GPCR-Mediated cAMP Signals to ERK Activation in Neuronal and Endocrine Cells

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Science Signaling  25 Jun 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 281, pp. ra51
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003993

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Bridging the Gap Between cAMP and ERK

The process by which neuronal cells extend neurite projections (neuritogenesis) is activated by G protein–coupled receptor (GPCR) signaling and depends on the production of the second messenger cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) and activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase ERK. Whether the cAMP and ERK signaling pathways operate in parallel or whether ERK activation occurs in response to cAMP generation has been unclear. Emery et al. isolated the Rap guanine nucleotide exchange factor Rapgef2 as a cAMP-binding protein in neuroendocrine cells and showed that it was activated in response to certain GPCR ligands that stimulated cAMP production. Loss of Rapgef2 inhibited cAMP- and ERK-dependent neuritogenesis, suggesting that Rapgef2 connects these two pathways in neuronal and endocrine cells.