Sonic-hedgehog-mediated proliferation requires the localization of PKA to the cilium base.
Cerebellar granular neuronal precursors (CGNPs) proliferate in response to the mitogenic activity of Sonic hedgehog (Shh), and this proliferation is negatively regulated by activation of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA). In the basal state, the PKA catalytic subunits (C-PKA) are inactive because of their association with the regulatory subunits (R-PKA). As the level of cAMP increases, it binds to R-PKA, displacing and thereby activating the C-PKA. Here we report that, in the presence of Shh, inactive C-PKA accumulates at the cilium base of proliferative CGNPs whereas removal of Shh triggers the activation of PKA at this particular location. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the anchoring of the PKA holoenzyme to the cilium base is mediated by the specific binding of the type II PKA regulatory subunit (RII-PKA) to the A-kinase anchoring proteins (AKAPs). Disruption of the interaction between RII-PKA and AKAPs inhibits Shh activity and, therefore, blocks proliferation of CGNP cultures. Collectively, these results demonstrate that the pool of PKA localized to the cilium base of CGNP plays an essential role in the integration of Shh signal transduction.DOI: 10.1242/jcs.060020