The Drosophila spaghetti squash (sqh) gene encodes the regulatory myosin light chain (RMLC) of nonmuscle myosin II. Biochemical analysis of vertebrate nonmuscle and smooth muscle myosin II has established that phosphorylation of certain amino acids of the RMLC greatly increases the actin-dependent myosin ATPase and motor activity of myosin in vitro. We have assessed the in vivo importance of these sites, which in Drosophila correspond to serine-21 and threonine-20, by creating a series of transgenes in which these specific amino acids were altered. The phenotypes of the transgenes were examined in an otherwise null mutant background during oocyte development in Drosophila females.
Germ line cystoblasts entirely lacking a functional sqh gene show severe defects in proliferation and cytokinesis. The ring canals, cytoplasmic bridges linking the oocyte to the nurse cells in the egg chamber, are abnormal, suggesting a role of myosin II in their establishment or maintenance. In addition, numerous aggregates of myosin heavy chain accumulate in the sqh null cells. Mutant sqh transgene sqh-A20, A21 in which both serine-21 and threonine-20 have been replaced by alanines behaves in most respects identically to the null allele in this system, with the exception that no heavy chain aggregates are found. In contrast, expression of sqh-A21, in which only the primary phosphorylation target serine-21 site is altered, partially restores functionality to germ line myosin II, allowing cystoblast division and oocyte development, albeit with some cytokinesis failure, defects in the rapid cytoplasmic transport from nurse cells to cytoplasm characteristic of late stage oogenesis, and some damaged ring canals. Substituting a glutamate for the serine-21 (mutant sqh-E21) allows oogenesis to be completed with minimal defects, producing eggs that can develop normally to produce fertile adults. Flies expressing sqh-A20, in which only the secondary phosphorylation site is absent, appear to be entirely wild type. Taken together, this genetic evidence argues that phosphorylation at serine-21 is critical to RMLC function in activating myosin II in vivo, but that the function can be partially provided by phosphorylation at threonine-20.
Reversible phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chain (MRLC) is a key regulatory mechanism controlling myosin activity and thus regulating the actin/myosin cytoskeleton. We show that Drosophila PP1β, a specific isoform of serine/threonine protein phosphatase 1 (PP1), regulates nonmuscle myosin and that this is the essential role of PP1β. Loss of PP1β leads to increased levels of phosphorylated nonmuscle MRLC (Sqh) and actin disorganisation; these phenotypes can be suppressed by reducing the amount of active myosin. Drosophila has two nonmuscle myosin targeting subunits, one of which (MYPT-75D) resembles MYPT3, binds specifically to PP1β, and activates PP1β's Sqh phosphatase activity. Expression of a mutant form of MYPT-75D that is unable to bind PP1 results in elevation of Sqh phosphorylation in vivo and leads to phenotypes that can also be suppressed by reducing the amount of active myosin. The similarity between fly and human PP1β and MYPT genes suggests this role may be conserved.
Neuronal cells must extend a motile growth cone while maintaining the cell body in its original position. In migrating cells, myosin contraction provides the driving force that pulls the rear of the cell toward the leading edge. We have characterized the function of myosin light chain phosphatase, which down-regulates myosin activity, in Drosophila photoreceptor neurons. Mutations in the gene encoding the myosin binding subunit of this enzyme cause photoreceptors to drop out of the eye disc epithelium and move toward and through the optic stalk. We show that this phenotype is due to excessive phosphorylation of the myosin regulatory light chain Spaghetti squash rather than another potential substrate, Moesin, and that it requires the nonmuscle myosin II heavy chain Zipper. Myosin binding subunit mutant cells continue to express apical epithelial markers and do not undergo ectopic apical constriction. In addition, mutant cells in the wing disc remain within the epithelium and differentiate abnormal wing hairs. We suggest that excessive myosin activity in photoreceptor neurons may pull the cell bodies toward the growth cones in a process resembling normal cell migration.
Citron kinase is a Rho-effector protein kinase that is related to Rho-associated kinases of ROCK/ROK/Rho-kinase family. Both ROCK and citron kinase are suggested to play a role in cytokinesis. However, no substrates are known for citron kinase. We found that citron kinase phosphorylated regulatory light chain (MLC) of myosin II at both Ser-19 and Thr-18 in vitro. Unlike ROCK, however, citron kinase did not phosphorylate the myosin binding subunit of myosin phosphatase, indicating that it does not inhibit myosin phosphatase. We found that the expression of the kinase domain of citron kinase resulted in an increase in MLC di-phosphorylation. Furthermore, the kinase domain was able to increase di-phosphorylation and restore stress fiber assembly even when ROCK was inhibited with a specific inhibitor, Y-27632. The expression of full-length citron kinase also increased di-phosphorylation during cytokinesis. These observations suggest that citron kinase phosphorylates MLC to generate di-phosphorylated MLC in vivo. Although both mono- and di-phosphorylated MLC were found in cleavage furrows, di-phosphorylated MLC showed more constrained localization than did mono-phosphorylated MLC. Because citron kinase is localized in cleavage furrows, citron kinase may be involved in regulating di-phosphorylation of MLC during cytokinesis.
Reorganization of actomyosin is an essential process for cell migration and myosin regulatory light chain (MLC20) phosphorylation plays a key role in this process. Here, we found that zipper-interacting protein (ZIP) kinase plays a predominant role in myosin II phosphorylation in mammalian fibroblasts. Using two phosphorylation site-specific antibodies, we demonstrated that a significant portion of the phosphorylated MLC20 is diphosphorylated and that the localization of mono- and diphosphorylated myosin is different from each other. The kinase responsible for the phosphorylation was ZIP kinase because (a) the kinase in the cell extracts phosphorylated Ser19 and Thr18 of MLC20 with similar potency; (b) immunodepletion of ZIP kinase from the cell extracts markedly diminished its myosin II kinase activity; and (c) disruption of ZIP kinase expression by RNA interference diminished myosin phosphorylation, and resulted in the defect of cell polarity and migration efficiency. These results suggest that ZIP kinase is critical for myosin phosphorylation and necessary for cell motile processes in mammalian fibroblasts.
migration; siRNA; nonmuscle; localization; Rho-kinase
Nonmuscle myosin II, an actin-based motor protein, plays an essential role in actin cytoskeleton organization and cellular motility. Although phosphorylation of its regulatory light chain (MRLC) is known to be involved in myosin II filament assembly and motor activity in vitro, it remains unclear exactly how MRLC phosphorylation regulates myosin II dynamics in vivo. We established clones of Madin Darby canine kidney II epithelial cells expressing MRLC-enhanced green fluorescent protein or its mutants. Time-lapse imaging revealed that both phosphorylation and dephosphorylation are required for proper dynamics of myosin II. Inhibitors affecting myosin phosphorylation and MRLC mutants indicated that monophosphorylation of MRLC is required and sufficient for maintenance of stress fibers. Diphosphorylated MRLC stabilized myosin II filaments and was distributed locally in regions of stress fibers where contraction occurs, suggesting that diphosphorylation is involved in the spatial regulation of myosin II assembly and contraction. We further found that myosin phosphatase or Zipper-interacting protein kinase localizes to stress fibers depending on the activity of myosin II ATPase.
Non-muscle myosin II is stimulated by monophosphorylation of its regulatory light chain (MRLC) at Ser19 (1P-MRLC). MRLC diphosphorylation at Thr18/Ser19 (2P-MRLC) further enhances the ATPase activity of myosin II. Phosphorylated MRLCs localize to the contractile ring and regulate cytokinesis as subunits of activated myosin II. Recently, we reported that 2P-MRLC, but not 1P-MRLC, localizes to the midzone independently of myosin II heavy chain during cytokinesis in cultured mammalian cells. However, the mechanism underlying the distinct localization of 1P- and 2P-MRLC during cytokinesis is unknown. Here, we showed that depletion of the Rho signaling proteins MKLP1, MgcRacGAP, or ECT2 inhibited the localization of 1P-MRLC to the contractile ring but not the localization of 2P-MRLC to the midzone. In contrast, depleting or inhibiting a midzone-localizing kinase, Aurora B, perturbed the localization of 2P-MRLC to the midzone but not the localization of 1P-MRLC to the contractile ring. We did not observe any change in the localization of phosphorylated MRLC in myosin light-chain kinase (MLCK)-inhibited cells. Furrow regression was observed in Aurora B- and 2P-MRLC-inhibited cells but not in 1P-MRLC-perturbed dividing cells. Furthermore, Aurora B bound to 2P-MRLC in vitro and in vivo. These results suggest that Aurora B, but not Rho/MLCK signaling, is essential for the localization of 2P-MRLC to the midzone in dividing HeLa cells.
Nonmuscle myosin II plays a crucial role in a variety of cellular processes (e.g., polarity formation, cell motility, and cytokinesis). It is composed of two heavy chains, two regulatory light chains and two essential light chains. The ATPase activity of the myosin II motor domain is regulated through phosphorylation of the regulatory light chain (RLC) by myosin light chain kinase. To study myosin function and localization in cellular processes, GFP-fused RLCs are widely used; however, the exact kinetic properties of myosins with bound GFP-RLC are poorly described. More importantly, it has not been shown that a regulatory light chain fused at its N-terminus with GFP can maintain the normal phosphorylation-dependent regulation of nonmuscle myosin or serve as a substrate for myosin light chain kinase. We coexpressed N-terminal GFP-RLC with a heavy meromyosin (HMM)-like fragment of nonmuscle myosin IIA and essential light chain to characterize the phosphorylation dynamics and in vitro kinetic properties of the resulting HMM. Myosin light chain kinase phosphorylates the GFP-RLC bound to HMM IIA with the same Vmax as it does the wild type RLC bound to HMM IIA, but the Km is about two fold higher for the GFP fusion protein, meaning that it is a somewhat poorer substrate. The steady-state actin-activated MgATPase activity of the GFP-RLC HMM is very low in the absence of phosphorylation demonstrating that the GFP moiety does not prevent formation of the off state. The actin-activated MgATPase activity of phosphorylated GFP-RLC-HMM and is about half that of wild type phosphorylated HMM. The ability of phosphorylated GFP-RLC-HMM to move actin filaments in the actin gliding assay is also slightly compromised. These data indicate that despite some kinetic differences the N-terminal GFP fusion to the regulatory light chain is a reasonable model system for studying myosin function in vivo.
GFP; Nonmuscle myosin; Regulatory light chain; Enzymatic activity; In vitro motility
Myosin II recruitment to the equatorial cortex is one of the earliest events in establishment of the cytokinetic contractile ring. In Drosophila S2 cells, we previously showed that myosin II is recruited to the furrow independently of F-actin, and that Rho1 and Rok are essential for this recruitment . Rok phosphorylates several cellular proteins, including the myosin regulatory light chain (RLC).
Here we express phosphorylation state mimic constructs of the RLC in S2 cells to examine the role of RLC phosphorylation involving Rok in the localization of myosin. Phosphorylation of the RLC is required for myosin localization to the equatorial cortex during mitosis, and the essential role of Rok in this localization and for cytokinesis is to maintain phosphorylation of the RLC. The ability to regulate the RLC phosphorylation state spatio-temporally is not essential for the myosin localization. Furthermore, the essential role of Citron in cytokinesis is not phosphorylation of the RLC.
We conclude that the Rho1 pathway leading to myosin localization to the future cytokinetic furrow is relatively straightforward, where only Rok is needed, and it is only needed to maintain phosphorylation of the myosin RLC.
Rho-associated kinase (Rho-kinase), which is activated by the small GTPase Rho, phosphorylates myosin-binding subunit (MBS) of myosin phosphatase and thereby inactivates the phosphatase activity in vitro. Rho-kinase is thought to regulate the phosphorylation state of the substrates including myosin light chain (MLC), ERM (ezrin/radixin/moesin) family proteins and adducin by their direct phosphorylation and by the inactivation of myosin phosphatase. Here we identified the sites of phosphorylation of MBS by Rho-kinase as Thr-697, Ser-854 and several residues, and prepared antibody that specifically recognized MBS phosphorylated at Ser-854. We found by use of this antibody that the stimulation of MDCK epithelial cells with tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (TPA) or hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) induced the phosphorylation of MBS at Ser-854 under the conditions in which membrane ruffling and cell migration were induced. Pretreatment of the cells with Botulinum C3 ADP-ribosyltransferase (C3), which is thought to interfere with Rho functions, or Rho-kinase inhibitors inhibited the TPA- or HGF-induced MBS phosphorylation. The TPA stimulation enhanced the immunoreactivity of phosphorylated MBS in the cytoplasm and membrane ruffling area of MDCK cells. In migrating MDCK cells, phosphorylated MBS as well as phosphorylated MLC at Ser-19 were localized in the leading edge and posterior region. Phosphorylated MBS was localized on actin stress fibers in REF52 fibroblasts. The microinjection of C3 or dominant negative Rho-kinase disrupted stress fibers and weakened the accumulation of phosphorylated MBS in REF52 cells. During cytokinesis, phosphorylated MBS, MLC and ERM family proteins accumulated at the cleavage furrow, and the phosphorylation level of MBS at Ser-854 was increased. Taken together, these results indicate that MBS is phosphorylated by Rho-kinase downstream of Rho in vivo, and suggest that myosin phosphatase and Rho-kinase spatiotemporally regulate the phosphorylation state of Rho-kinase substrates including MLC and ERM family proteins in vivo in a cooperative manner.
myosin-binding subunit of myosin phosphatase; Rho-associated kinase; Rho; phosphorylation; cytokinesis
Phosphorylation of non-muscle myosin II regulatory light chain (RLC) at Thr18/Ser19 is well established as a key regulatory event that controls myosin II assembly and activation, both in vitro and in living cells. RLC can also be phosphorylated at Ser1/Ser2/Thr9 by protein kinase C (PKC). Biophysical studies show that phosphorylation at these sites leads to an increase in the Km of myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) for RLC, thereby indirectly inhibiting myosin II activity. Despite unequivocal evidence that PKC phosphorylation at Ser1/Ser2/Thr9 can regulate myosin II function in vitro, there is little evidence that this mechanism regulates myosin II function in live cells.
The purpose of these studies was to investigate the role of Ser1/Ser2/Thr9 phosphorylation in live cells. To do this we utilized phospho-specific antibodies and created GFP-tagged RLC reporters with phosphomimetic aspartic acid substitutions or unphosphorylatable alanine substitutions at the putative inhibitory sites or the previously characterized activation sites. Cell lines stably expressing the RLC-GFP constructs were assayed for myosin recruitment during cell division, the ability to complete cell division, and myosin assembly levels under resting or spreading conditions. Our data shows that manipulation of the activation sites (Thr18/Ser19) significantly alters myosin II function in a number of these assays while manipulation of the putative inhibitory sites (Ser1/Ser2/Thr9) does not.
These studies suggest that inhibitory phosphorylation of RLC is not a substantial regulatory mechanism, although we cannot rule out its role in other cellular processes or perhaps other types of cells or tissues in vivo.
In a number of systems phosphorylation of the regulatory light chain (RMLC) of myosin regulates the activity of myosin. In smooth muscle and vertebrate nonmuscle systems RMLC phosphorylation is required for contractile activity. In Dictyostelium discoideum phosphorylation of the RMLC regulates both ATPase activity and motor function. We have determined the site of phosphorylation on the Dictyostelium RMLC and used site-directed mutagenesis to replace the phosphorylated serine with an alanine. The mutant light chain was then expressed in RMLC null Dictyostelium cells (mLCR-) from an actin promoter on an integrating vector. The mutant RMLC was expressed at high levels and associated with the myosin heavy chain. RMLC bearing a ser13ala substitution was not phosphorylated in vitro by purified myosin light chain kinase, nor could phosphate be detected on the mutant RMLC in vivo. The mutant myosin had reduced actin-activated ATPase activity, comparable to fully dephosphorylated myosin. Unexpectedly, expression of the mutant RMLC rescued the primary phenotypic defects of the mlcR- cells to the same extent as did expression of wild-type RMLC. These results suggest that while phosphorylation of the Dictyostelium RMLC appears to be tightly regulated in vivo, it is not essential for myosin-dependent cellular functions.
Phosphorylation of the regulatory light chain of myosin II (RMLC) at Serine 19 by a specific enzyme, MLC kinase, is believed to control the contractility of actomyosin in smooth muscle and vertebrate nonmuscle cells. To examine how such phosphorylation is regulated in space and time within cells during coordinated cell movements, including cell locomotion and cell division, we generated a phosphorylation-specific antibody.
Motile fibroblasts with a polarized cell shape exhibit a bimodal distribution of phosphorylated myosin along the direction of cell movement. The level of myosin phosphorylation is high in an anterior region near membrane ruffles, as well as in a posterior region containing the nucleus, suggesting that the contractility of both ends is involved in cell locomotion. Phosphorylated myosin is also concentrated in cortical microfilament bundles, indicating that cortical filaments are under tension. The enrichment of phosphorylated myosin in the moving edge is shared with an epithelial cell sheet; peripheral microfilament bundles at the leading edge contain a higher level of phosphorylated myosin. On the other hand, the phosphorylation level of circumferential microfilament bundles in cell–cell contacts is low. These observations suggest that peripheral microfilaments at the edge are involved in force production to drive the cell margin forward while microfilaments in cell–cell contacts play a structural role. During cell division, both fibroblastic and epithelial cells exhibit an increased level of myosin phosphorylation upon cytokinesis, which is consistent with our previous biochemical study (Yamakita, Y., S. Yamashiro, and F. Matsumura. 1994. J. Cell Biol. 124:129–137). In the case of the NRK epithelial cells, phosphorylated myosin first appears in the midzones of the separating chromosomes during late anaphase, but apparently before the formation of cleavage furrows, suggesting that phosphorylation of RMLC is an initial signal for cytokinesis.
Actomyosin contractility provides an essential source of tension for shaping epithelial tissues. We show that the Drosophila Death-associated protein kinase homologue Drak regulates Myosin regulatory light chain phosphorylation in a partially redundant manner with the Rho effector kinase Rok to shape developing epithelial tissues.
Dynamic regulation of cytoskeletal contractility through phosphorylation of the nonmuscle Myosin-II regulatory light chain (MRLC) provides an essential source of tension for shaping epithelial tissues. Rho GTPase and its effector kinase ROCK have been implicated in regulating MRLC phosphorylation in vivo, but evidence suggests that other mechanisms must be involved. Here, we report the identification of a single Drosophila homologue of the Death-associated protein kinase (DAPK) family, called Drak, as a regulator of MRLC phosphorylation. Based on analysis of null mutants, we find that Drak broadly promotes proper morphogenesis of epithelial tissues during development. Drak activity is largely redundant with that of the Drosophila ROCK orthologue, Rok, such that it is essential only when Rok levels are reduced. We demonstrate that these two kinases synergistically promote phosphorylation of Spaghetti squash (Sqh), the Drosophila MRLC orthologue, in vivo. The lethality of drak/rok mutants can be rescued by restoring Sqh activity, indicating that Sqh is the critical common effector of these two kinases. These results provide the first evidence that DAPK family kinases regulate actin dynamics in vivo and identify Drak as a novel component of the signaling networks that shape epithelial tissues.
ROCK (Rho-kinase), an effector molecule of RhoA, phosphorylates the myosin binding subunit (MBS) of myosin phosphatase and inhibits the phosphatase activity. This inhibition increases phosphorylation of myosin light chain (MLC) of myosin II, which is suggested to induce RhoA-mediated assembly of stress fibers and focal adhesions. ROCK is also known to directly phosphorylate MLC in vitro; however, the physiological significance of this MLC kinase activity is unknown. It is also not clear whether MLC phosphorylation alone is sufficient for the assembly of stress fibers and focal adhesions.
We have developed two reagents with opposing effects on myosin phosphatase. One is an antibody against MBS that is able to inhibit myosin phosphatase activity. The other is a truncation mutant of MBS that constitutively activates myosin phosphatase. Through microinjection of these two reagents followed by immunofluorescence with a specific antibody against phosphorylated MLC, we have found that MLC phosphorylation is both necessary and sufficient for the assembly of stress fibers and focal adhesions in 3T3 fibroblasts. The assembly of stress fibers in the center of cells requires ROCK activity in addition to the inhibition of myosin phosphatase, suggesting that ROCK not only inhibits myosin phosphatase but also phosphorylates MLC directly in the center of cells. At the cell periphery, on the other hand, MLCK but not ROCK appears to be the kinase responsible for phosphorylating MLC. These results suggest that ROCK and MLCK play distinct roles in spatial regulation of MLC phosphorylation.
myosin phosphatase; myosin phosphorylation; stress fibers; focal adhesions; RhoA
Phosphorylation of the regulatory light chain by myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) regulates the motor activity of smooth muscle and nonmuscle myosin II. We have designed reagents to detect this phosphorylation event in living cells. A new fluorescent protein biosensor of myosin II regulatory light chain phosphorylation (FRLC-Rmyosin II) is described here. The biosensor depends upon energy transfer from fluorescein-labeled regulatory light chains to rhodamine-labeled essential and/or heavy chains. The energy transfer ratio increases by up to 26% when the regulatory light chain is phosphorylated by MLCK. The majority of the change in energy transfer is from regulatory light chain phosphorylation by MLCK (versus phosphorylation by protein kinase C). Folding/unfolding, filament assembly, and actin binding do not have a large effect on the energy transfer ratio. FRLC-Rmyosin II has been microinjected into living cells, where it incorporates into stress fibers and transverse fibers. Treatment of fibroblasts containing FRLC-Rmyosin II with the kinase inhibitor staurosporine produced a lower ratio of rhodamine/fluorescein emission, which corresponds to a lower level of myosin II regulatory light chain phosphorylation. Locomoting fibroblasts containing FRLC-Rmyosin II showed a gradient of myosin II phosphorylation that was lowest near the leading edge and highest in the tail region of these cells, which correlates with previously observed gradients of free calcium and calmodulin activation. Maximal myosin II motor force in the tail may contribute to help cells maintain their polarized shape, retract the tail as the cell moves forward, and deliver disassembled subunits to the leading edge for incorporation into new fibers.
Rap1 enhances integrin-mediated adhesion but the link between Rap1 activation and integrin function in collagen phagocytosis is not defined. Mass spectrometry of Rap1 immunoprecipitates showed that the association of Rap1 with nonmuscle myosin heavy-chain II-A (NMHC II-A) was enhanced by cell attachment to collagen beads. Rap1 colocalized with NM II-A at collagen bead-binding sites. There was a transient increase in myosin light-chain phosphorylation after collagen-bead binding that was dependent on myosin light-chain kinase but not Rho kinase. Inhibition of myosin light-chain phosphorylation, but not myosin II-A motor activity inhibited collagen-bead binding and Rap activation. In vitro binding assays demonstrated binding of Rap1A to filamentous myosin rods, and in situ staining of permeabilized cells showed that NM II-A filaments colocalized with F-actin at collagen bead sites. Knockdown of NM II-A did not affect talin, actin, or β1-integrin targeting to collagen beads but targeting of Rap1 and vinculin to collagen was inhibited. Conversely, knockdown of Rap1 did not affect localization of NM II-A to beads. We conclude that MLC phosphorylation in response to initial collagen-bead binding promotes NM II-A filament assembly; binding of Rap1 to myosin filaments enables Rap1-dependent integrin activation and enhanced collagen phagocytosis.
In the canonical model of smooth muscle (SM) contraction, the contractile force is generated by phosphorylation of the myosin regulatory light chain (RLC20) by the myosin light chain kinase (MLCK). Moreover, phosphorylation of the myosin targeting subunit (MYPT1) of the RLC20 phosphatase (MLCP) by the RhoA-dependent ROCK kinase, inhibits the phosphatase activity and consequently inhibits dephosphorylation of RLC20 with concomitant increase in contractile force, at constant intracellular [Ca2+]. This pathway is referred to as Ca2+-sensitization. There is, however, emerging evidence suggesting that additional Ser/Thr kinases may contribute to the regulatory pathways in SM. Here, we report data implicating the p90 ribosomal S6 kinase (RSK) in SM contractility. During both Ca2+- and agonist (U46619) induced SM contraction, RSK inhibition by the highly selective compound BI-D1870 (which has no effect on MLCK or ROCK) resulted in significant suppression of contractile force. Furthermore, phosphorylation levels of RLC20 and MYPT1 were both significantly decreased. Experiments involving the irreversible MLCP inhibitor microcystin-LR, in the absence of Ca2+, revealed that the decrease in phosphorylation levels of RLC20 upon RSK inhibition are not due solely to the increase in the phosphatase activity, but reflect direct or indirect phosphorylation of RLC20 by RSK. Finally, we show that agonist (U46619) stimulation of SM leads to activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases ERK1/2 and PDK1, consistent with a canonical activation cascade for RSK. Thus, we demonstrate a novel and important physiological function of the p90 ribosomal S6 kinase, which to date has been typically associated with the regulation of gene expression.
It is widely accepted that actin filaments and the conventional double-headed myosin interact to generate force for many types of nonmuscle cell motility, and that this interaction occurs when the myosin regulatory light chain (MLC) is phosphorylated by MLC kinase (MLCK) together with calmodulin and Ca2+. However, recent studies indicate that Rho-kinase is also involved in regulating the smooth muscle and nonmuscle cell contractility. We have recently isolated reactivatable stress fibers from cultured cells and established them as a model system for actomyosin-based contraction in nonmuscle cells. Here, using isolated stress fibers, we show that Rho-kinase mediates MLC phosphorylation and their contraction in the absence of Ca2+. More rapid and extensive stress fiber contraction was induced by MLCK than was by Rho-kinase. When the activity of Rho-kinase but not MLCK was inhibited, cells not only lost their stress fibers and focal adhesions but also appeared to lose cytoplasmic tension. Our study suggests that actomyosin-based nonmuscle contractility is regulated by two kinase systems: the Ca2+-dependent MLCK and the Rho-kinase systems. We propose that Ca2+ is used to generate rapid contraction, whereas Rho-kinase plays a major role in maintaining sustained contraction in cells.
Rho; Rho-kinase; stress fiber; contraction; myosin regulatory light chain
To understand how cytokinesis is regulated during mitosis, we tested cyclin-p34cdc2 for myosin-II kinase activity, and investigated the mitotic-specific phosphorylation of myosin-II in lysates of Xenopus eggs. Purified cyclin-p34cdc2 phosphorylated the regulatory light chain of cytoplasmic and smooth muscle myosin-II in vitro on serine-1 or serine-2 and threonine-9, sites known to inhibit the actin-activated myosin ATPase activity of smooth muscle and nonmuscle myosin (Nishikawa, M., J. R. Sellers, R. S. Adelstein, and H. Hidaka. 1984. J. Biol. Chem. 259:8808-8814; Bengur, A. R., A. E. Robinson, E. Appella, and J. R. Sellers. 1987. J. Biol. Chem. 262:7613-7617; Ikebe, M., and S. Reardon. 1990. Biochemistry. 29:2713-2720). Serine-1 or -2 of the regulatory light chain of Xenopus cytoplasmic myosin-II was also phosphorylated in Xenopus egg lysates stabilized in metaphase, but not in interphase. Inhibition of myosin-II by cyclin-p34cdc2 during prophase and metaphase could delay cytokinesis until chromosome segregation is initiated and thus determine the timing of cytokinesis relative to earlier events in mitosis.
The earliest stage in the development of neuronal polarity is characterized by extension of undifferentiated “minor processes” (MPs), which subsequently differentiate into the axon and dendrites. We investigated the role of the myosin II motor protein in MP extension using forebrain and hippocampal neuron cultures. Chronic treatment of neurons with the myosin II ATPase inhibitor blebbistatin increased MP length, which was also seen in myosin IIB knockouts. Through live-cell imaging we demonstrate that myosin II inhibition triggers rapid minor process extension to a maximum length range. Myosin II activity is determined by phosphorylation of its regulatory light chains (rMLC), mediated by myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) or RhoA-kinase (ROCK). Pharmacological inhibition of MLCK or ROCK increased MP length moderately, with combined inhibition of these kinases resulting in an additive increase in MP length similar to the effect of direct inhibition of myosin II. Selective inhibition of RhoA signaling upstream of ROCK, with cell-permeable C3 transferase, increased both the length and number of MPs. To determine whether myosin II affected development of neuronal polarity, MP differentiation was examined in cultures treated with direct or indirect myosin II inhibitors. Significantly, inhibition of myosin II, MLCK, or ROCK accelerated the development of neuronal polarity. Increased myosin II activity, through constitutively active MLCK or RhoA, decreased both the length and number of MPs and, consequently, delayed or abolished the development of neuronal polarity. Together, these data indicate that myosin II negatively regulates MP extension, and the developmental time course for axonogenesis.
myosin II; myosin light chain kinase; Rho-kinase; minor process; polarity; neuronal development
Actin and myosin inhibitors often blocked anaphase movements in insect spermatocytes in previous experiments. Here we treat cells with an enhancer of myosin, Calyculin A, which inhibits myosin-light-chain phosphatase from dephosphorylating myosin; myosin thus is hyperactivated. Calyculin A causes anaphase crane-fly spermatocyte chromosomes to accelerate poleward; after they reach the poles they often move back toward the equator. When added during metaphase, chromosomes at anaphase move faster than normal. Calyculin A causes prometaphase chromosomes to move rapidly up and back along the spindle axis, and to rotate. Immunofluorescence staining with an antibody against phosphorylated myosin regulatory light chain (p-squash) indicated increased phosphorylation of cleavage furrow myosin compared to control cells, indicating that calyculin A indeed increased myosin phosphorylation. To test whether the Calyculin A effects are due to myosin phosphatase or to type 2 phosphatases, we treated cells with okadaic acid, which inhibits protein phosphatase 2A at concentrations similar to Calyculin A but requires much higher concentrations to inhibit myosin phosphatase. Okadaic acid had no effect on chromosome movement. Backward movements did not require myosin or actin since they were not affected by 2,3-butanedione monoxime or LatruculinB. Calyculin A affects the distribution and organization of spindle microtubules, spindle actin, cortical actin and putative spindle matrix proteins skeletor and titin, as visualized using immunofluorescence. We discuss how accelerated and backwards movements might arise.
Myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation plays important roles in various cellular functions such as cellular morphogenesis, motility, and smooth muscle contraction. MLC phosphorylation is determined by the balance between activities of Rho-associated kinase (Rho-kinase) and myosin phosphatase. An impaired balance between Rho-kinase and myosin phosphatase activities induces the abnormal sustained phosphorylation of MLC, which contributes to the pathogenesis of certain vascular diseases, such as vasospasm and hypertension. However, the dynamic principle of the system underlying the regulation of MLC phosphorylation remains to be clarified. Here, to elucidate this dynamic principle whereby Rho-kinase regulates MLC phosphorylation, we developed a mathematical model based on the behavior of thrombin-dependent MLC phosphorylation, which is regulated by the Rho-kinase signaling network. Through analyzing our mathematical model, we predict that MLC phosphorylation and myosin phosphatase activity exhibit bistability, and that a novel signaling pathway leading to the auto-activation of myosin phosphatase is required for the regulatory system of MLC phosphorylation. In addition, on the basis of experimental data, we propose that the auto-activation pathway of myosin phosphatase occurs in vivo. These results indicate that bistability of myosin phosphatase activity is responsible for the bistability of MLC phosphorylation, and the sustained phosphorylation of MLC is attributed to this feature of bistability.
Myosin II phosphorylation–dependent cell motile events are regulated by myosin light-chain (MLC) kinase and MLC phosphatase (MLCP). Recent studies have revealed myosin phosphatase targeting subunit (MYPT1), a myosin-binding subunit of MLCP, plays a critical role in MLCP regulation. Here we report the new regulatory mechanism of MLCP via the interaction between 14-3-3 and MYPT1. The binding of 14-3-3β to MYPT1 diminished the direct binding between MYPT1 and myosin II, and 14-3-3β overexpression abolished MYPT1 localization at stress fiber. Furthermore, 14-3-3β inhibited MLCP holoenzyme activity via the interaction with MYPT1. Consistently, 14-3-3β overexpression increased myosin II phosphorylation in cells. We found that MYPT1 phosphorylation at Ser472 was critical for the binding to 14-3-3. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulation increased both Ser472 phosphorylation and the binding of MYPT1-14-3-3. Rho-kinase inhibitor inhibited the EGF-induced Ser472 phosphorylation and the binding of MYPT1-14-3-3. Rho-kinase specific siRNA also decreased EGF-induced Ser472 phosphorylation correlated with the decrease in MLC phosphorylation. The present study revealed a new RhoA/Rho-kinase–dependent regulatory mechanism of myosin II phosphorylation by 14-3-3 that dissociates MLCP from myosin II and attenuates MLCP activity.
Phosphorylation of myosin II is important in many aspects of cell function and involves a myosin kinase, e.g. myosin light chain kinase, and a myosin phosphatase (MP). MP is regulated by the myosin phosphatase target subunit (MYPT1). The domain structure, properties, and genetic analyses of MYPT1 and its isoforms are outlined. MYPT1 binds the catalytic subunit of type 1 phosphatase, δ isoform, and also acts as an interactive platform for many other proteins. A key reaction for MP is with phosphorylated myosin II and the first process shown to be regulated by MP was contractile activity of smooth muscle. In cell division and cell migration myosin II phosphorylation also plays a critical role and these are discussed. However, based on the wide range of partners for MYPT1 it is likely that MP is implicated with substrates other than myosin II. Open questions are whether the diverse functions of MP reflect different cellular locations and/or specific roles for the MYPT1 isoforms.
Myosin II phosphorylation; Myosin phosphatase; Myosin phosphatase targeting subunit; Cell division; Cell migration