Phosphodiesterases and compartmentalized cAMP signalling in the heart.
A key feature of the cAMP/cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) transduction system is the compartmentalisation of its signalling enzymes and effectors. Given the large diversity of PKA targets within cardiac cells a precisely regulated and confined activity of such signalling pathway is essential for specificity of response. This appears to be achieved through the generation of local pools of high cAMP and activation of PKA at discrete subcellular locations. Phosphodiesterases (PDEs) are the only route for degrading cAMP and are thus poised to regulate intracellular cAMP gradients. Their spatial confinement to discrete compartments and functional coupling to individual receptors provides an efficient way to control local [cAMP](i) in a stimulus-specific manner. A better understanding of the distinctive role that individual PDEs play in shaping the cAMP signal in heart cells may lead to the development of new strategies for selective pharmacologic manipulation of cAMP signalling in defined functional domains.