The cAMP/PKA (protein kinase A) signalling pathway is activated by a plethora of stimuli. To facilitate the specificity of a cellular response, signal transduction complexes are formed and segregated to discrete sites (compartmentalization). cAMP/PKA signalling compartments are maintained by AKAPs (A-kinase anchoring proteins) which bind PKA and other signalling proteins, and by PDEs (phosphodiesterases). The latter hydrolyse cAMP and thus limit its diffusion and terminate PKA activity. An example of a cAMP-dependent process requiring compartmentalization of cAMP/PKA signals is arginine-vasopressin-regulated water reabsorption in renal principal cells. A detailed understanding of the protein interactions within a signal transduction complex offers the possibility to design agents influencing PKA binding to a specific AKAP, the targeting of an AKAP or the interactions of AKAPs with other signalling molecules. The ability to specifically modulate selected branches of a signal transduction pathway would greatly advance basic research, and may lead to new drugs suitable for the treatment of diseases caused by dysregulation of anchored PKA signalling (e.g. renal and cardiovascular diseases).

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