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J Muscle Res Cell Motil. 2011 Sep;32(2):77-88. doi: 10.1007/s10974-011-9253-x. Epub 2011 Jun 25.

Rho-kinase inhibition attenuates calcium-induced contraction in β-escin but not Triton X-100 permeabilized rabbit femoral artery.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, 1101 East Marshall Street, PO Box 980614, Richmond, VA 23298-0614, USA.


K+-depolarization (KCl) of smooth muscle has long been known to cause Ca2+-dependent contraction, but only recently has this G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR)-independent stimulus been associated with rhoA kinase (ROCK)-dependent myosin light chain (MLC) phosphatase inhibition and Ca2+ sensitization. This study examined effects of ROCK inhibition on the concentration-response curves (CRCs) generated in femoral artery by incrementally adding increasing concentrations of KCl to intact tissues, and Ca2+ to tissues permeabilized with Triton X-100, β-escin and α-toxin. For a comparison, tissue responses were assessed also in the presence of protein kinase C (PKC) and MLC kinase inhibition. The ROCK inhibitor H-1152 induced a strong concentration-dependent inhibition of a KCl CRC. A relatively low GF-109203X concentration (1 μM) sufficient to inhibit conventional PKC isotypes also inhibited the KCl CRC but did not affect the maximum tension. ROCK inhibitors had no effect on the Ca2+ CRC induced in Triton X-100 or α-toxin permeabilized tissues, but depressed the maximum contraction induced in β-escin permeabilized tissue. GF-109203X at 1 μM depressed the maximum Ca2+-dependent contraction induced in α-toxin permeabilized tissue and had no effect on the Ca2+ CRC induced in Triton X-100 permeabilized tissue. The MLC kinase inhibitor wortmannin (1 μM) strongly depression the Ca2+ CRCs in tissues permeabilized with Triton X-100, α-toxin and β-escin. H-1152 inhibited contractions induced by a single exposure to a submaximum [Ca2+] (pCa 6) in both rabbit and mouse femoral arteries. These data indicate that β-escin permeabilized muscle preserves GPCR-independent, Ca2+- and ROCK-dependent, Ca2+ sensitization.

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