Myosin light chain kinase phosphorylation in tracheal smooth muscle

James T. Stull, Li Chu Hsu, Malú G. Tansey, Kristine E. Kamm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

122 Scopus citations


Purified myosin light chain kinase from smooth muscle is phosphorylated by cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase, protein kinase C, and the multifunctional calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II. Because phosphorylation in a specific site (site A) by any one of these kinases desensitizes myosin light chain kinase to activation by Ca2+/calmodulin, kinase phosphorylation could play an important role in regulating smooth muscle contractility. This possibility was investigated in 32P-labeled bovine tracheal smooth muscle. Treatment of tissues with carbachol, KCl, isoproterenol, or phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate increased the extent of kinase phosphorylation. Six primary phosphopeptides (A-F) of myosin light chain kinase were identified. Site A was phosphorylated to an appreciable extent only with carbachol or KCl, agents which contract tracheal smooth muscle. The extent of site A phosphorylation correlated to increases in the concentration of Ca2+/calmodulin required for activation. These results show that cyclic AMP-dependent protein kinase and protein kinase C do not affect smooth muscle contractility by phosphorylating site A in myosin light chain kinase. It is proposed that phosphorylation of myosin light chain kinase in site A in contracting tracheal smooth muscle may play a role in the reported desensitization of contractile elements to activation by Ca2+.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16683-16690
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number27
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


Dive into the research topics of 'Myosin light chain kinase phosphorylation in tracheal smooth muscle'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this