Receptor- and cellular compartment-specific activation of the cAMP/PKA pathway by α1-adrenergic and ETA endothelin receptors

Ryan D. Martin, Yalin Sun, Kyla Bourque, Nicolas Audet, Asuka Inoue, Jason C. Tanny, Terence E. Hébert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The signalling functions of many G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) expressed in the myocardium are incompletely understood. Among these are the endothelin receptor (ETR) family and α1-adrenergic receptor (α1-AR), which are thought to couple to the G protein Gαq. In this study, we used transcriptome analysis to compare the signalling networks downstream of these receptors in primary neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. This analysis indicated increased expression of target genes of cAMP responsive element modulator (CREM) after 24 h treatment with the α1-AR agonist phenylephrine, but not the ETR agonist endothelin-1, suggesting a specific role for the α1-AR in promoting cAMP production in cardiomyocytes. To validate the difference observed between these two GPCRs, we used heterologous expression of the receptors and genetically encoded biosensors in HEK 293 cell lines. We validated that both α1A- and α1B-AR subtypes were able to lead to the accumulation of cAMP in response to phenylephrine in both the nucleus and cytoplasm in a Gαs-dependent manner. However, the ETR subtype ETA did not affect cAMP levels in either compartment. All three receptors were coupled to Gαq signalling as expected. Further, we showed that activation of PKA in different compartments was α1-AR subtype specific, with α1B-AR able to activate PKA in the cytoplasm and nucleus and α1A-AR only able to in the nucleus. We provide evidence for a pathway downstream of the α1-AR, and show that distinct pools of a receptor lead to differential activation of downstream effector proteins dependent on their cellular compartment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)43-50
Number of pages8
JournalCellular Signalling
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Apr


  • Adrenergic receptors
  • Cardiac hypertrophy
  • Endothelin receptors
  • G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs)
  • Signal compartmentalization


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