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Am J Cardiol. 1987 Jan 30;59(3):4B-10B.

Effects of calcium on vascular smooth muscle contraction.


Calcium initiates smooth muscle contraction by binding to calmodulin and activating the enzyme myosin light chain kinase. The activated form of myosin light chain kinase phosphorylates myosin on the 20,000-dalton light chain and contractile activity ensues. Calcium may also enhance smooth muscle contractile activity by binding directly to myosin, the main component of the thick filament. Recent studies raise the possibility that the calcium-calmodulin complex may also modulate smooth muscle contractile activity by removing the inhibition imposed by caldesmon, a protein that is bound to the thin (i.e., actin-containing) filaments of smooth muscle. In vitro studies have demonstrated that the calcium-activated, phospholipid-dependent kinase, protein kinase C, can phosphorylate smooth muscle myosin at a different site than does myosin light chain kinase and down-regulate its actin-activated magnesium adenosine triphosphatase activity. This raises the possibility that protein kinase C phosphorylation of myosin may play a role in modulating vascular contractile activity in vivo.

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