Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Cyclic GMP is a critical second messenger signaling molecule in many mammalian cell types. It is synthesized by a family of guanylyl cyclases that is activated in response to stimuli from hormones such as natriuretic peptides, members of the guanylin family, and chemical stimuli including nitric oxide and carbon monoxide. The resulting elevation of cGMP modulates myriad physiological processes. Three major groups of cellular proteins bind cGMP specifically at allosteric sites; interaction of cGMP with these sites modulates the activities and functions of other domains within these protein groups to bring about physiological effects. These proteins include the cyclic nucleotide (cN)-dependent protein kinases, cN-gated cation channels, and cGMP-binding phosphodiesterases (PDE). Cyclic GMP also interacts with the catalytic sites of many cN PDEs and with some members of the multi-drug anion transporter family (MRPs) which can extrude nucleotides from cells. The allosteric cN-binding sites in the kinases and the cN-gated channels are evolutionarily and biochemically related, whereas the allosteric cGMP-binding sites in PDEs (also known as GAF domains), the catalytic sites of PDEs , and the ligand-binding sites in the MRPs are evolutionarily and biochemically distinct from each other and from those in the kinase and channel families. The sites that interact with cGMP within each of these groups of proteins have unique properties that provide for cGMP binding. Within a given cell, cGMP can potentially interact with members of all these groups of proteins if they are present. The relative abundance and affinities of these various cGMP-binding sites in conjunction with their subcellular compartmentation, proximity to cyclases and PDEs, and post-translational modification contribute importantly in determining the impact of these respective proteins to cGMP signaling within a particular cell.