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Identification of the signaling pathways that regulate cyclic nucleotide microdomains is essential to our understanding of cardiac physiology and pathophysiology. Although there is growing evidence that the plasma membrane Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent ATPase 4 (PMCA4) is a regulator of neuronal nitric-oxide synthase, the physiological consequence of this regulation is unclear. We therefore tested the hypothesis that PMCA4 has a key structural role in tethering neuronal nitric-oxide synthase to a highly compartmentalized domain in the cardiac cell membrane. This structural role has functional consequences on cAMP and cGMP signaling in a PMCA4-governed microdomain, which ultimately regulates cardiac contractility. In vivo contractility and calcium amplitude were increased in PMCA4 knock-out animals (PMCA4(-/-)) with no change in diastolic relaxation or the rate of calcium decay, showing that PMCA4 has a function distinct from beat-to-beat calcium transport. Surprisingly, in PMCA4(-/-), over 36% of membrane-associated neuronal nitric-oxide synthase (nNOS) protein and activity was delocalized to the cytosol with no change in total nNOS protein, resulting in a significant decrease in microdomain cGMP, which in turn led to a significant elevation in local cAMP levels through a decrease in PDE2 activity (measured by FRET-based sensors). This resulted in increased L-type calcium channel activity and ryanodine receptor phosphorylation and hence increased contractility. In the heart, in addition to subsarcolemmal calcium transport, PMCA4 acts as a structural molecule that maintains the spatial and functional integrity of the nNOS signaling complex in a defined microdomain. This has profound consequences for the regulation of local cyclic nucleotide and hence cardiac β-adrenergic signaling.

Original publication




Journal article


J Biol Chem

Publication Date





41520 - 41529


Animals, Calcium, Cyclic AMP, Cyclic GMP, Cyclic Nucleotide Phosphodiesterases, Type 2, Ion Transport, Membrane Microdomains, Mice, Mice, Knockout, Multienzyme Complexes, Muscle Proteins, Myocardial Contraction, Myocytes, Cardiac, Nitric Oxide Synthase Type I, Plasma Membrane Calcium-Transporting ATPases, Signal Transduction