Key points: Smooth muscle myosin regulatory light chain (RLC) is phosphorylated by Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent myosin light chain kinase and dephosphorylated by myosin light chain phosphatase (MLCP). Tracheal smooth muscle contains significant amounts of myosin binding subunit 85 (MBS85), another myosin phosphatase targeting subunit (MYPT) family member, in addition to MLCP regulatory subunit MYPT1. Concentration/temporal responses to carbachol demonstrated similar sensitivities for bovine tracheal force development and phosphorylation of RLC, MYPT1, MBS85 and paxillin. Electrical field stimulation releases ACh from nerves to increase RLC phosphorylation but not MYPT1 or MBS85 phosphorylation. Thus, nerve-mediated muscarinic responses in signalling modules acting on RLC phosphorylation are different from pharmacological responses with bath added agonist. The conditional knockout of MYPT1 or the knock-in mutation T853A in mice had no effect on muscarinic force responses in isolated tracheal tissues. MLCP activity may arise from functionally shared roles between MYPT1 and MBS85, resulting in minimal effects of MYPT1 knockout on contraction. Abstract: Ca2+/calmodulin activation of myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) initiates myosin regulatory light chain (RLC) phosphorylation for smooth muscle contraction with subsequent dephosphorylation for relaxation by myosin light chain phosphatase (MLCP) containing regulatory (MYPT1) and catalytic (PP1cδ) subunits. RLC phosphorylation-dependent force development is regulated by distinct signalling modules involving protein phosphorylations. We investigated responses to cholinergic agonist treatment vs. neurostimulation by electric field stimulation (EFS) in bovine tracheal smooth muscle. Concentration/temporal responses to carbachol demonstrated tight coupling between force development and RLC phosphorylation but sensitivity differences in MLCK, MYPT1 T853, MYPT1 T696, myosin binding subunit 85 (MBS85), paxillin and CPI-17 (PKC-potentiated protein phosphatase 1 inhibitor protein of 17 kDa) phosphorylations. EFS increased force and phosphorylation of RLC, CPI-17 and MLCK. In the presence of the cholinesterase inhibitor neostigmine, EFS led to an additional increase in phosphorylation of MYPT1 T853, MYPT1 T696, MBS85 and paxillin. Thus, there were distinct pharmacological vs. physiological responses in signalling modules acting on RLC phosphorylation and force responses, probably related to degenerate G protein signalling networks. Studies with genetically modified mice were performed. Expression of another MYPT1 family member, MBS85, was enriched in mouse, as well as bovine tracheal smooth muscle. Carbachol concentration/temporal-force responses were similar in trachea from MYPT1SM+/+, MYPT1SM-/− and the knock-in mutant mice containing nonphosphorylatable MYPT1 T853A with no differences in RLC phosphorylation. Thus, MYPT1 T853 phosphorylation was not necessary for regulation of RLC phosphorylation in tonic airway smooth muscle. Furthermore, MLCP activity may arise from functionally shared roles between MYPT1 and MBS85, resulting in minimal effects of MYPT1 knockout on contraction.
- airway smooth muscle
- myosin light chain kinase
- myosin light chain phosphatase
- myosin regulatory light chain phosphorylation
ASJC Scopus subject areas