Indexed on: 19 Oct '10Published on: 19 Oct '10Published in: Blood
Adhesive forces at endothelial cell-cell borders maintain vascular integrity. cAMP enhances barrier properties and controls cellular processes through protein kinase A bound to A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs). It also activates exchange protein directly activated by cAMP (Epac1), an exchange factor for Ras-related protein 1 (Rap1) GTPases that promotes cadherin- and integrin-mediated adhesion through effects on the actin cytoskeleton. We demonstrate that AKAP9 facilitates the microtubule polymerization rate in endothelial cells, interacts with Epac1, and is required for Epac1-stimulated microtubule growth. AKAP9 is not required for maintaining barrier properties under steady-state conditions. Rather, it is essential when the cell is challenged to make new adhesive contacts, as is the case when Epac activation enhances barrier function through a mechanism that, surprisingly, requires integrin adhesion at cell-cell contacts. In the present study, defects in Epac-induced responses in AKAP9-silenced cells were evident despite an intact Epac-induced increase in Rap activation, cortical actin, and vascular endothelial-cadherin adhesion. We describe a pathway that integrates Epac-mediated signals with AKAP9-dependent microtubule dynamics to coordinate integrins at lateral borders.