Myosin phosphatase targeting subunit 1 affects cell migration by regulating myosin phosphorylation and actin assembly

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66 Scopus citations


Myosin II plays important roles in many contractile-like cell functions, including cell migration, adhesion, and retraction. Myosin II is activated by regulatory light chain (RLC) phosphorylation whereas RLC dephosphorylation by myosin light chain phosphatase containing a myosin phosphatase targeting subunit (MYPT1) leads to myosin inactivation. HeLa cells contain MYPT1 in addition to a newly identified human variant 2 containing an internal deletion. RLC dephosphorylation, cell migration, and adhesion were inhibited when either or both MYPT1 isoforms were knocked down by RNA interference. RLC was highly phosphorylated (60%) when both isoforms were suppressed by siRNA treatment relative to control cells (10%) with serum-starvation and ROCK inhibition. Prominent stress fibers and focal adhesions were associated with the enhanced RLC phosphorylation. The reintroduction of MYPT1 or variant 2 in siRNA-treated cells decreased stress fibers and focal adhesions. MYPT1 knockdown also led to an increase of F-actin relative to G-actin in HeLa cells. The myosin inhibitor blebbistatin did not inhibit this effect, indicating MYPT1 likely affects actin assembly independent of RLC phosphorylation. Proper expression of MYPT1 or variant 2 is critical for RLC phosphorylation and actin assembly, thus maintaining normal cellular functions by simultaneously controlling cytoskeletal architecture and actomyosin activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)506-517
Number of pages12
JournalExperimental Cell Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2005


  • Actin
  • Cell adhesion
  • Cell migration
  • MYPT1
  • Myosin phosphatase
  • RNAi
  • Regulatory light chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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