Cyclic AMP (cAMP) phosphodiesterase-4 (PDE4) enzymes degrade cAMP and underpin the compartmentalization of cAMP signaling through their targeting to particular protein complexes and intracellular locales. We describe the discovery and characteriza- tion of a small-molecule compound that allosterically activates PDE4 long isoforms. This PDE4-specific activator displays reversible, noncompetitive kinetics of activation (increased Vmax with unchanged Km), phenocopies the ability of protein kinase A (PKA) to activate PDE4 long isoforms endogenously, and requires a dimeric enzyme assembly, as adopted by long, but not by short (monomeric), PDE4 isoforms. Abnormally elevated levels of cAMP provide a critical driver of the underpinning molecular pathology of autosomal domi- nant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) by promoting cyst formation that, ultimately, culminates in renal failure. Using both animal and human cell models of ADPKD, including ADPKD patient-derived pri- mary cell cultures, we demonstrate that treatment with the prototyp- ical PDE4 activator compound lowers intracellular cAMP levels, restrains cAMP-mediated signaling events, and profoundly inhibits cyst formation. PDE4 activator compounds thus have potential as therapeutics for treating disease driven by elevated cAMP signal- ing as well as providing a tool for evaluating the action of long PDE4 isoforms in regulating cAMP-mediated cellular processes.
- Cyclic AMP
- PDE4 activator