Signal transduction and regulation in smooth muscle

Nature. 1994 Nov 17;372(6503):231-6. doi: 10.1038/372231a0.


Smooth muscle cells in the walls of many organs are vital for most bodily functions, and their abnormalities contribute to a range of diseases. Although based on a sliding-filament mechanism similar to that of striated muscles, contraction of smooth muscle is regulated by pharmacomechanical as well as by electromechanical coupling mechanisms. Recent studies have revealed previously unrecognized contractile regulatory processes, such as G-protein-coupled inhibition of myosin light-chain phosphatase, regulation of myosin light-chain kinase by other kinases, and the functional effects of smooth muscle myosin isoforms. Abnormalities of these regulatory mechanisms and isoform variations may contribute to diseases of smooth muscle, and the G-protein-coupled inhibition of protein phosphatase is also likely to be important in regulating non-muscle cell functions mediated by cytoplasmic myosin II.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Humans
  • Muscle Contraction
  • Muscle Relaxation
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology*
  • Muscular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases / metabolism
  • Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum / physiology
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Protein Kinases
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases
  • Calcium