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Biochem J. 2006 May 15;396(1):193-200.

Gi-coupled receptors mediate phosphorylation of CPI-17 and MLC20 via preferential activation of the PI3K/ILK pathway.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA 23298, USA.


Sustained smooth-muscle contraction or its experimental counterpart, Ca2+ sensitization, by G(q/13)-coupled receptor agonists is mediated via RhoA-dependent inhibition of MLC (myosin light chain) phosphatase and MLC20 (20 kDa regulatory light chain of myosin II) phosphorylation by a Ca2+-independent MLCK (MLC kinase). The present study identified the corresponding pathways initiated by G(i)-coupled receptors. Somatostatin acting via G(i)1-coupled sstr3 receptor, DPDPE ([D-Pen2,D-Pen5]enkephalin; where Pen is penicillamine) acting via G(i)2-coupled delta-opioid receptors, and cyclopentyl adenosine acting via G(i)3-coupled adenosine A1 receptors preferentially activated PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase) and ILK (integrin-linked kinase), whereas ACh (acetylcholine) acting via G(i)3-coupled M2 receptors preferentially activated PI3K, Cdc42 (cell division cycle 42)/Rac1, PAK1 (p21-activated kinase 1) and p38 MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase). Only agonists that activated ILK induced sustained CPI-17 (protein kinase C potentiated inhibitor 17 kDa protein) phosphorylation at Thr38, MLC20 phosphorylation at Ser19, and contraction, consistent with recent evidence that ILK can act as a Ca2+-independent MLCK capable of phosphorylating the MLC phosphatase inhibitor, CPI-17, at Thr38. ILK activity, and CPI-17 and MLC20 phosphorylation were inhibited by LY294002 and in muscle cells expressing ILK(R211A) or treated with siRNA (small interfering RNA) for ILK. ACh acting via M2 receptors activated ILK, and induced CPI-17 and MLC20 phosphorylation and muscle contraction, but only after inhibition of p38 MAPK; all these responses were inhibited in cells expressing ILK(R211A). Conversely, ACh activated PAK1, a step upstream of p38 MAPK, whereas the three other agonists did so only in cells transfected with ILK(R211A) or siRNA for ILK. The results demonstrate reciprocal inhibition between two pathways downstream of PI3K, with ILK inhibiting PAK1, and p38 MAPK inhibiting ILK. Sustained contraction via G(i)-coupled receptors is dependent on CPI-17 and MLC20 phosphorylation by ILK.

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