Cyclic AMP

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Cyclic AMP or cAMP works by activating protein kinase A (PKA, cAMP-dependent protein kinase). PKA is normally inactive as a tetrameric holoenzyme, consisting of two catalytic and two regulatory units (C2R2), with the regulatory units blocking the catalytic centers of the catalytic units. Cyclic AMP binds to specific locations on the regulatory units of the protein kinase, and causes dissociation between the regulatory and catalytic subunits, thus activating the catalytic units and enabling them to phosphorylate substrate proteins. There are some minor PKA-independent functions of cAMP, e.g., activation of calcium channels, providing a minor pathway by which growth hormone-releasing hormone causes a release of growth hormone.