PDE8 Is Expressed in Human Airway Smooth Muscle and Selectively Regulates cAMP Signaling by β2-Adrenergic Receptors and Adenylyl Cyclase 6

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Two cAMP signaling compartments centered on adenylyl cyclase (AC) exist in human airway smooth muscle (HASM) cells, one containing β2-adrenergic receptor AC6 and another containing E prostanoid receptor AC2. We hypothesized that different PDE isozymes selectively regulate cAMP signaling in each compartment. According to RNA-sequencing data, 18 of 24 PDE genes were expressed in primary HASM cells derived from age- and sex-matched donors with and without asthma. PDE8A was the third most abundant of the cAMP-degrading PDE genes, after PDE4A and PDE1A. Knockdown of PDE8A using shRNA evoked twofold greater cAMP responses to 1 μM forskolin in the presence of 3-isobutyl-1-methylxanthine. Overexpression of AC2 did not alter this response, but overexpression of AC6 increased cAMP responses an additional 80%. We examined cAMP dynamics in live HASM cells using a fluorescence sensor. PF-04957325, a PDE8-selective inhibitor, increased basal cAMP concentrations by itself, indicating a significant basal level of cAMP synthesis. In the presence of an AC inhibitor to reduce basal signaling, PF-04957325 accelerated cAMP production and increased the inhibition of cell proliferation induced by isoproterenol, but it had no effect on cAMP concentrations or cell proliferation regulated by prostaglandin E2. Lipid raft fractionation of HASM cells revealed PDE8A immunoreactivity in buoyant fractions containing caveolin-1 and AC5/6 immunoreactivity. Thus, PDE8 is expressed in lipid rafts of HASM cells, where it specifically regulates β2-adrenergic receptor AC6 signaling without effects on signaling by the E prostanoid receptors 2/4-AC2 complex. In airway diseases such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, PDE8 may represent a novel therapeutic target to modulate HASM responsiveness and airway remodeling.

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