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G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) relay extracellular stimuli into specific cellular functions. Cells express many different GPCRs, but all these GPCRs signal to only a few second messengers such as cAMP. It is largely unknown how cells distinguish between signals triggered by different GPCRs to orchestrate their complex functions. Here, we demonstrate that individual GPCRs signal via receptor-associated independent cAMP nanodomains (RAINs) that constitute self-sufficient, independent cell signaling units. Low concentrations of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and isoproterenol exclusively generate highly localized cAMP pools around GLP-1- and β2-adrenergic receptors, respectively, which are protected from cAMP originating from other receptors and cell compartments. Mapping local cAMP concentrations with engineered GPCRnanorulers reveals gradients over only tens of nanometers that define the size of individual RAINs. The coexistence of many such RAINs allows a single cell to operate thousands of independent cellular signals simultaneously, rather than function as a simple "on/off" switch.

Original publication

DOI

10.1016/j.cell.2022.02.011

Type

Journal article

Journal

Cell

Publication Date

10/03/2022

Keywords

FRET, G protein-coupled receptors, GLP-1, biosensors, cAMP, cell signaling, compartmentation, diffusion, nanodomains, spatiotemporal signaling