M-RIP targets myosin phosphatase to stress fibers to regulate myosin light chain phosphorylation in vascular smooth muscle cells

J Biol Chem. 2005 Dec 30;280(52):42543-51. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M506863200. Epub 2005 Oct 28.


Vascular smooth muscle cell contraction and relaxation are directly related to the phosphorylation state of the regulatory myosin light chain. Myosin light chains are dephosphorylated by myosin phosphatase, leading to vascular smooth muscle relaxation. Myosin phosphatase is localized not only at actin-myosin stress fibers where it dephosphorylates myosin light chains, but also in the cytoplasm and at the cell membrane. The mechanisms by which myosin phosphatase is targeted to these loci are incompletely understood. We recently identified myosin phosphatase-Rho interacting protein as a member of the myosin phosphatase complex that directly binds both the myosin binding subunit of myosin phosphatase and RhoA and is localized to actin-myosin stress fibers. We hypothesized that myosin phosphatase-Rho interacting protein targets myosin phosphatase to the contractile apparatus to dephosphorylate myosin light chains. We used RNA interference to silence the expression of myosin phosphatase-Rho interacting protein in human vascular smooth muscle cells. Myosin phosphatase-Rho interacting protein silencing reduced the localization of the myosin binding subunit to stress fibers. This reduction in stress fiber myosin phosphatase-Rho interacting protein and myosin binding subunit increased basal and lysophosphatidic acid-stimulated myosin light chain phosphorylation. Neither cellular myosin phosphatase, myosin light chain kinase, nor RhoA activities were changed by myosin phosphatase-Rho interacting protein silencing. Furthermore, myosin phosphatase-Rho interacting protein silencing resulted in marked phenotypic changes in vascular smooth muscle cells, including increased numbers of stress fibers, increased cell area, and reduced stress fiber inhibition in response to a Rho-kinase inhibitor. These data support the importance of myosin phosphatase-Rho interacting protein-dependent targeting of myosin phosphatase to stress fibers for regulating myosin light chain phosphorylation state and morphology in human vascular smooth muscle cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Actins / chemistry*
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / physiology*
  • Aorta / pathology
  • Cell Line
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Gene Silencing
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Models, Genetic
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / cytology*
  • Myocytes, Smooth Muscle / cytology
  • Myosin Light Chains / chemistry*
  • Myosin Light Chains / metabolism
  • Myosin-Light-Chain Kinase / metabolism
  • Myosin-Light-Chain Phosphatase / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Binding
  • RNA Interference
  • Transfection
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein / metabolism


  • Actins
  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • MPRIP protein, human
  • Myosin Light Chains
  • Myosin-Light-Chain Kinase
  • Myosin-Light-Chain Phosphatase
  • rhoA GTP-Binding Protein