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IUBMB Life. 2001 Jun;51(6):337-44.

Myosin light chain kinase as a multifunctional regulatory protein of smooth muscle contraction.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Gunma University School of Medicine, Maebash, Japan.


Myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) is a regulatory protein for smooth muscle contraction, which acts by phosphorylating 20-kDa myosin light chain (MLC20) to activate the myosin ATPase activity. Although this mode of action is well-established, there are numerous reports of smooth muscle contraction that is not associated with MLC20 phosphorylation. The kinase activity for the phosphorylation is localized at the central part of MLCK, which is also furnished with actin-binding activity at its N terminal and myosin-binding activity at its C terminal. This article overviews as to how such multifunctional properties of MLCK modify the actin-myosin interaction and presents our observations that the phosphorylation is not obligatory in induction of smooth muscle contraction.

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