Rho-kinase/ROCK: A key regulator of the cytoskeleton and cell polarity

Cytoskeleton (Hoboken). 2010 Sep;67(9):545-54. doi: 10.1002/cm.20472.


Rho-associated kinase (Rho-kinase/ROCK/ROK) is an effector of the small GTPase Rho and belongs to the AGC family of kinases. Rho-kinase has pleiotropic functions including the regulation of cellular contraction, motility, morphology, polarity, cell division, and gene expression. Pharmacological analyses have revealed that Rho-kinase is involved in a wide range of diseases such as vasospasm, pulmonary hypertension, nerve injury, and glaucoma, and is therefore considered to be a potential therapeutic target. This review focuses on the structure, function, and modes of activation and action of Rho-kinase.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Actins / physiology
  • Cell Movement / genetics
  • Cell Polarity / genetics*
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Cytokinesis / physiology
  • Cytoskeleton / physiology*
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology
  • Neurites / physiology
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • rho-Associated Kinases* / chemistry
  • rho-Associated Kinases* / physiology


  • Actins
  • rho-Associated Kinases
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins