Soluble adenylyl cyclase links Ca2+ entry to Ca2+/cAMP-response element binding protein (CREB) activation in vascular smooth muscle.


Institute of Integrative Biology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 7ZB, United Kingdom. [Email]


Ca2+-transcription coupling controls gene expression patterns that define vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotype. Although not well understood this allows normally contractile VSMCs to become proliferative following vessel injury, a process essential for repair but which also contributes to vascular remodelling, atherogenesis and restenosis. Here we show that the Ca2+/HCO3--sensitive enzyme, soluble adenylyl cyclase (sAC), links Ca2+ influx in human coronary artery smooth muscle cells (hCASMCs) to 3',5'-cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) generation and phosphorylation of the transcription factor Ca2+/cAMP response element binding protein (CREB). Store-operated Ca2+ entry (SOCE) into hCASMCs expressing the FRET-based cAMP biosensor H187 induced a rise in cAMP that mirrored cytosolic [Ca2+]. SOCE also activated the cAMP effector, protein kinase A (PKA), as determined by the PKA reporter, AKAR4-NES, and induced phosphorylation of vasodilator-stimulated phosphoprotein (VASP) and CREB. Transmembrane adenylyl cyclase inhibition had no effect on the SOCE-induced rise in cAMP, while sAC inhibition abolished SOCE-generated cAMP and significantly reduced SOCE-induced VASP and CREB phosphorylation. This suggests that SOCE in hCASMCs activates sAC which in turn activates the cAMP/PKA/CREB axis. sAC, which is insensitive to G-protein modulation but responsive to Ca2+, pH and ATP, may therefore act as an overlooked regulatory node in vascular Ca2+-transcription coupling.