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Br J Pharmacol. 1999 Oct;128(4):925-33.

A major role for the rho-associated coiled coil forming protein kinase in G-protein-mediated Ca2+ sensitization through inhibition of myosin phosphatase in rabbit trachea.

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First Department of Internal Medicine, Gunma University Faculty of Medicine, School of Medicine, 3-39-15 Showa-machi, Maebashi, Gunma, 371-8511, Japan.


1 G protein-mediated Ca2+ sensitization of airway smooth muscle contraction was investigated with respect to the relative importance of Rho-associated coiled coil forming protein kinase (ROCK) and protein kinase C (PKC). We examined the effects of Y-27632, a ROCK inhibitor, and GF 109203X, a PKC inhibitor, on guanosine 5'-O-(3-thiotriphosphate) (GTPgammaS)-induced contraction in alpha-toxin- or beta-escin-permeabilized rabbit trachea. 2 Although pre-treatment with Y-27632 dose-dependently inhibited GTPgammaS (10 microM)-induced Ca2+ sensitization of alpha-toxin-permeabilized trachea, a Y-27632-insensitive component (approximately 16% of the maximum contraction) was retained during the early phase of the GTPgammaS response in the presence of Y-27632 (100 microM). 3 GF 109203X (5 microM) abolished 1 microM 4beta-phorbol 12, 13-dibutyrate (PDBu)-induced, but only partially inhibited the GTPgammaS-induced Ca2+ sensitization. A combination of Y-27632 (100 microM) and GF 109203X (5 microM) totally abolished the GTPgammaS response. 4 GTPgammaS caused only a small contraction in the absence of Ca2+. Wortmannin (30 microM), a myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) inhibitor, completely inhibited Ca2+-induced contraction. ATP-triggered contraction of the strip which had been treated with calyculin A (1 microM), a phosphatase inhibitor, in rigor solutions was markedly slowed by worthmannin (30 microM), but not by Y-27632 (100 microM), in the presence of GTPgammaS and Ca2+. 5 GTPgammaS, but not PDBu, contracted the beta-escin-permeabilized trachea in the absence of Ca2+, but the presence of Ca2+-independent MLCK. 6 We conclude that ROCK plays a primary role in G-protein-mediated Ca2+ sensitization, which requires MLCK activity, with minor contribution of PKC to the early phase of contraction, and PDBu utilizes conventional PKC(s) in airway smooth muscle.

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