cAMP is an important molecule in eukaryotic signal transduction, a so-called second messenger. Adenylate cyclase can be activated or inhibited by G proteins, which are coupled to membrane receptors and thus can respond to hormonal or other stimuli. Following activation of adenylate cyclase, the resulting cAMP acts as a second messenger by interacting with and regulating other proteins such as protein kinase A and cyclic nucleotide-gated ion channels.
Photoactivatable adenylate cyclase (PAC) was discovered in E. gracilis and can be expressed in other organisms through genetic manipulation. Shining blue light on a cell containing PAC activates it and abruptly increases the rate of conversion of ATP to cAMP. This is a useful technique for researchers in neuroscience because it allows them to quickly increase the intracellular cAMP levels in particular neurons, and to study the effect of that increase in neural activity on the behavior of the organism. For example, PAC expression in certain neurons has been shown to alter the grooming behavior in fruit flies exposed to blue light Researchers also use channelrhodopsin-2 in a similar fashion.
The important parts for its function are located in the cytoplasm and can be subdivided into the N-terminus, C1a, C1b, C2a and C2b.
The C1 region exists between transmembrane helices six and seven and the C2 region follows transmembrane helix 12.
The C1a and C2a domains form a catalytic dimer where ATP binds and is converted to cAMP.
In neurons, adenylate cyclases are located next to calcium ion channels for faster reaction to Ca2+ influx; they are suspected of playing an important role in learning processes. This is supported by the fact that adenylate cyclases are coincidence detectors, meaning that they are only activated by several different signals occurring together.
Schizosaccharomyces Pombe Adenylate Cyclase Suppressor Mutations Suggest a Role for cAMP Phosphodiesterase Regulation in Feedback Control of Glucose/ cAMP Signaling
Dec 01, 2005; ABSTRACT Mutations affecting the Schizosaccharomyces pombe cAMP phosphodiesterase (PDE) gene cgs2^sup +^ were identified in a...