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Human myometrial quiescence and activation during gestation and parturition involve dramatic changes in expression and activity of particulate type II (RIIα) protein kinase A holoenzyme

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Nick Europe-Finner, Professor Steve RobsonORCiD


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There are substantial data indicating that components of the cAMP-signaling pathway are differentially expressed in the human myometrium during pregnancy. The effects of cAMP in most tissues and cell types are mainly modulated via protein kinase A, a heterotetrameric protein complex consisting of two regulatory (R) and two catalytic (C) subunits. In the studies presented here, we used specific antibodies in Western blotting/immunoprecipitation, RT-PCR, and functional protein kinase A (PKA) phosphorylation assays to determine the PKA holoenzymes that are expressed in the human myometrium throughout pregnancy and labor. We report that as early as the second trimester of pregnancy, there is a significant increase in expression of the regulatory RIIα protein subunit of PKA in the myometrium. This increase in protein expression is also mirrored at the mRNA level, indicating transcriptional control throughout pregnancy, whereas during parturition both transcript and protein are significantly decreased. This increase in RIIα protein also resulted in increased particulate PKA activity in the myometrium during gestation, which was subsequently decreased during labor. Two specific A kinase anchoring proteins, AKAP95 and AKAP79, which have high binding affinities for RIIα subunits, were found to form complexes with myometrial RIIα species employing immunoprecipitation assays, but their levels of expression remained uniform in all myometrial tissue samples investigated. Our findings indicate that increased particulate type II PKA activity occurs throughout pregnancy, therefore directing the cAMP quiescence signal to specific subcellular loci within myometrial smooth muscle cells including the contractile machinery at the cytoskeleton; this effect is then removed during parturition.

Publication metadata

Author(s): MacDougall MWJ, Europe-Finner GN, Robson SC

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism

Year: 2003

Volume: 88

Issue: 5

Pages: 2194-2205

ISSN (print): 0021-972X

ISSN (electronic): 1945-7197

Publisher: The Endocrine Society


DOI: 10.1210/jc.2002-021862

PubMed id: 12727975


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