Protein kinase A (PKA) regulates processes as diverse as growth, development, memory, and metabolism. It exists as a tetrameric complex of two catalytic subunits (PKA-C) and a regulatory (PKA-R) subunit dimer. Type-II PKA is anchored to specific locations within the cell by AKAPs. Extracellular stimuli such as neurotransmitters, hormones, inflammatory stimuli, stress, epinephrine and norepinephrine activate G-proteins through receptors such as GPCRs and ADR-α/β. These receptors along with others such as CRHR, GcgR and DCC are responsible for cAMP accumulation which leads to activation of PKA. The conversion of ATP to cAMP is mediated by the 9 transmembrane AC enzymes and one soluble AC. The transmembrane AC are regulated by heterotrimeric G-proteins, Gαs, Gαq and Gαi. Gαs and Gαq activate while Gαi inhibits AC. Gβ and Gγ subunits act synergistically with Gαs and Gαq to activate ACII, IV and VII. However the β and γ subunits along with Gαi inhibit the activity of ACI, V and VI.G-proteins indirectly influence cAMP signaling by activating PLC, which generates DAG and IP3. DAG in turn activates PKC. IP3 modulates proteins upstream to cAMP signaling with the release of Ca2+ from the ER through IP3R. Ca2+ is also released by CaCn and CNG. Ca2+ release activates Calmodulin, CamKKs and CamKs, which take part in cAMP modulation by activating ACI. Gα13 activates MEKK1 and RhoA via two independent pathways which induce phosphorylation and degradation of IκBα and activation of PKA. High levels of cAMP under stress conditions like hypoxia, ischemia and heat shock also directly activate PKA. TGF-β activates PKA independent of cAMP through phosphorylation of SMAD proteins.
PKA phosphorylates Phospholamban which regulates the activity of SERCA2 leading to myocardial contraction, whereas phosphorylation of TnnI mediates relaxation. PKA also activates KDELR to promote protein retrieval thereby maintaining steady state of the cell. Increase in concentration of Ca2+ followed by PKA activation enhances eNOS activity which is essential for cardiovascular homeostasis. Activated PKA represses ERK activation by inhibition of Raf1. PKA inhibits the interaction of 14-3-3 proteins with BAD and NFAT to promote cell survival.
PKA phosphorylates endothelial MLCK leading to decreased basal MLC phosphorylation. It also phosphorylates filamin, adducin, paxillin and FAK and is involved in the disappearance of stress fibers and F-actin accumulation in membrane ruffles. PKA also controls phosphatase activity by phosphorylation of a specific PPtase1 inhibitor, DARPP32. Other substrates of PKA include histone H1, histone H2B and CREB.
PKA phosphorylates and inactivates GSK3, thus preventing oncogenesis and neurodegeneration. It also inactivates GYS, which prevents the futile cycling of glucose-1 phosphate back into glycogen via UDP-glucose. HSL, an important enzyme of lipolysis, is also phosphorylated by PKA. PKA phosphorylates GRK1 and GRK7 which reduces the phosphorylation of Rhodopsin. PKA also phosphorylates β-catenin and inhibits its ubiquitination in intact cells. Phosphorylation of p75(NTR) by PKA facilitates the efficiency of its signal transduction. PKA also regulates Gli3 under the influence of hedgehog signaling. Failure to regulate PKA may have disastrous consequences including diseases such as cancer.