Protein Kinase A, Exchange Protein Activated By cAMP 1, and Phosphodiesterase 4D All Associate With VE-Cadherin to Regulate Endothelial Barrier Function

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Ovens, Jeffrey David
PKA , EPAC , PDE4 , Vascular Endothelial Permeability , VE-Cadherin
Vascular endothelial cells (VECs) play an essential role in regulating the passage of macromolecules and cells between the blood stream and underlying tissues. The second messenger 3’, 5’ cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) regulates numerous events in VECs, including permeability. Since human VECs express several distinct cAMP-hydrolyzing phosphodiesterases (PDEs), and these are the only enzymes that catalyze the inactivation of cAMP, we investigated if selective pharmacological inhibition of PDEs could impact VEC permeability. Interestingly, we found that PDE4 inhibitors decreased human aortic VEC (HAEC) permeability and PDE4 and PDE3 inhibitors decreased human microvascular VEC (HMVEC) permeability. Consistent with a role for both protein kinase A (PKA) and exchange protein activated by cAMP (EPAC) in regulating VEC permeability, selective activators of these enzymes significantly decreased permeability. Since neither PDE4 nor PDE3 inhibitors significantly increased cAMP in these cells, our data are consistent with the idea that PDE inhibition causes small localized increases in “pools” of cAMP that regulate permeability. In order to test if PDE4 enzymes could act locally on pools of cAMP that regulated permeability, we selectively isolated the adherens junctional protein VE-cadherin from confluent monolayers of HAECs or HMVECs, and immunoblotted these isolates for cAMPeffectors and PDEs. Briefly, we found that each PKA-II, EPAC1, and a PDE4D variant, but not PDE3 enzymes, each could be isolated in VE-cadherin-based complexes from these cells. These novel findings identify PKA-II, EPAC1, and PDE4D as members of VE-cadherin-based signaling complexes in human VECs and are consistent with the idea that localized cAMP-signaling regulates permeability in these cells.
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