Computational investigation of the dynamic control of cAMP signaling by PDE4 isoform types

Dean Paes, Sammy Hermans, Daniel van den Hove, Tim Vanmierlo, Jos Prickaerts, Aurélie Carlier

Published: 2022


Cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) is a generic signaling molecule that, through precise control of its signaling dynamics, exerts distinct cellular effects. Consequently, aberrant cAMP signaling can have detrimental effects. Phosphodiesterase 4 (PDE4) enzymes profoundly control cAMP signaling and comprise different isoform types wherein enzymatic activity is modulated by differential feedback mechanisms. Because these feedback dynamics are non-linear and occur coincidentally, their effects are difficult to examine experimentally but can be well simulated computationally. Through understanding the role of PDE4 isoform types in regulating cAMP signaling, PDE4-targeted therapeutic strategies can be better specified. Here, we established a computational model to study how feedback mechanisms on different PDE4 isoform types lead to dynamic, isoform-specific control of cAMP signaling. Ordinary differential equations describing cAMP dynamics were implemented in the VirtualCell environment. Simulations indicated that long PDE4 isoforms exert the most profound control on oscillatory cAMP signaling, as opposed to the PDE4-mediated control of single cAMP input pulses. Moreover, elevating cAMP levels or decreasing PDE4 levels revealed different effects on downstream signaling. Together these results underline that cAMP signaling is distinctly regulated by different PDE4 isoform types and that this isoform specificity should be considered in both computational and experimental follow-up studies to better define PDE4 enzymes as therapeutic targets in diseases in which cAMP signaling is aberrant.

Full Access Link: Biophysical Journal