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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Essential role of rho kinase in the Ca2+ sensitization of prostaglandin F(2alpha)-induced contraction of rabbit aortae.

Inhibition of dephosphorylation of the 20 kDa myosin light chain (MLC(20)) is an important mechanism for the Ca(2+)-induced sensitization of vascular smooth muscle contraction. We investigated whether this mechanism operates in prostaglandin F(2alpha) (PGF(2alpha))-induced contraction of rabbit aortic smooth muscle and, if so, whether protein kinase C (PKC) or rho-associated kinase (rho kinase) contribute to the inhibition of dephosphorylation. In normal medium, PGF(2alpha) (10 microM) increased the phosphorylation of MLC(20) and developed tension. The rho-kinase inhibitors fasudil and hydroxyfasudil inhibited these changes, despite having no effect on a phorbol-ester-induced MLC(20) phosphorylation. After treatment with verapamil or chelation of external Ca(2+) with EGTA, PGF(2alpha) increased the MLC(20) phosphorylation and tension without an increase in [Ca(2+)](i), all of which were sensitive to fasudil and hydroxyfasudil. ML-9, a MLC kinase inhibitor, quickly reversed the KCl-induced MLC(20) phosphorylation and contraction to the resting level. However, fractions of PGF(2alpha)-induced contraction and MLC(20) phosphorylation were resistant to ML-9 but were sensitive to fasudil. Ro31-8220 (10 microM), a PKC inhibitor, did not affect the phosphorylation of MLC(20) and the tension caused by PGF(2alpha), thus excluding the possibility of the involvement of PKC in the PGF(2alpha)-induced MLC(20) phosphorylation. PGF(2alpha) increased phosphorylation at Thr654 of the myosin binding subunit (MBS) of myosin phosphatase, which is a target of rho kinase, and fasudil decreased the phosphorylation. These data suggest that the PGF(2alpha)-induced contraction is accompanied by the inhibition of MLC(20) dephosphorylation through rho kinase-induced MBS phosphorylation, leading to Ca(2+) sensitization of contraction. An actin-associated mechanism may also be involved in the PGF(2alpha)-induced sensitization.[1]


  1. Essential role of rho kinase in the Ca2+ sensitization of prostaglandin F(2alpha)-induced contraction of rabbit aortae. Ito, K., Shimomura, E., Iwanaga, T., Shiraishi, M., Shindo, K., Nakamura, J., Nagumo, H., Seto, M., Sasaki, Y., Takuwa, Y. J. Physiol. (Lond.) (2003) [Pubmed]
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