Constitutive phosphorylation of cardiac myosin regulatory light chain in vivo

Audrey N Chang, Pavan K. Battiprolu, Patrick M. Cowley, Guohua Chen, Robert D. Gerard, Jose R. Pinto, Joseph A Hill, Anthony J. Baker, Kristine E Kamm, James T Stull

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52 Scopus citations


In beating hearts, phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chain (RLC) at a single site to 0.45 mol of phosphate/mol by cardiac myosin light chain kinase (cMLCK) increases Ca2+ sensitivity of myofilament contraction necessary for normal cardiac performance. Reduction of RLC phosphorylation in conditional cMLCK knock-out mice caused cardiac dilation and loss of cardiac performance by 1 week, as shown by increased left ventricular internal diameter at end-diastole and decreased fractional shortening. Decreased RLC phosphorylation by conventional or conditional cMLCK gene ablation did not affect troponin-I or myosin-binding protein-C phosphorylation in vivo. The extent of RLC phosphorylation was not changed by prolonged infusion of dobutamine or treatment with a β-adrenergic antagonist, suggesting that RLC is constitutively phosphorylated to maintain cardiac performance. Biochemical studies with myofilaments showed that RLC phosphorylation up to 90% was a random process. RLC is slowly dephosphorylated in both noncontracting hearts and isolated cardiac myocytes from adult mice. Electrically paced ventricular trabeculae restored RLC phosphorylation, which was increased to 0.91 mol of phosphate/mol of RLC with inhibition of myosin light chain phosphatase (MLCP). The two RLCs in each myosin appear to be readily available for phosphorylation by a soluble cMLCK, but MLCP activity limits the amount of constitutive RLC phosphorylation. MLCP with its regulatory subunit MYPT2 bound tightly to myofilaments was constitutively phosphorylated in beating hearts at a site that inhibits MLCP activity. Thus, the constitutive RLC phosphorylation is limited physiologically by low cMLCK activity in balance with low MLCP activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10703-10716
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 24 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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