Signalling via m3 and m2 receptors in smooth muscles involved activation of two G-protein-dependent pathways by each receptor. m2 receptors were coupled via Gβγi3 with activation of phospholipase C-β3, phosphoinositide 3-kinase and Cdc42/Rac1 (where Cdc stands for cell division cycle) and p21-activated kinase 1 (PAK1), resulting in phosphorylation and inactivation of myosin light chain kinase (MLCK). Each step was inhibited by methoctramine and pertussis toxin. PAK1 activity was abolished in cells expressing both Cdc42-DN (where DN stands for dominant negative) and Rac1-DN. MLCK phosphorylation was inhibited by PAK1 antibody, and in cells expressing Cdc42-DN and Rac1-DN. m3 receptors were coupled via Gαq/11 with activation of phospholipase C-β1 and via RhoA with activation of Rho-associated kinase (Rho kinase), phospholipase D and protein kinase C (PKC). Rho kinase and phospholipase D activities were inhibited by C3 exoenzyme and in cells expressing RhoA-DN. PKC activity was inhibited by bisindolylmaleimide, and in cells expressing RhoA-DN; PKC activity was also inhibited partly by Y27632 (44±5%). PKC-induced phosphorylation of PKC-activated 17 kDa inhibitor protein of type 1 phosphatase (CPI-17) at Thr38 was abolished by bisindolylmaleimide and inhibited partly by Y27632 (28±3%). Rho-kinase-induced phosphorylation of myosin phosphatase targeting subunit (MYPT1) and was abolished by Y27632. Sustained phosphorylation of 20 kDa regulatory light chain of myosin II (MLC20) and contraction were abolished by bisindolylmaleimide Y27632 and C3 exoenzyme and in cells expressing RhoA-DN. The results suggest that Rho-kinase-dependent phosphorylation of MYPT1 and PKC-dependent phosphorylation and enhancement of CPI-17 binding to the catalytic subunit of MLC phosphatase (MLCP) act co-operatively to inhibit MLCP activity, leading to sustained stimulation of MLC20 phosphorylation and contraction. Because Y27632 inhibited both Rho kinase and PKC activities, it could not be used to ascertain the contribution of MYPT1 to inhibition of MLCP activity. m2-dependent phosphorylation and inactivation of MLCK precluded its involvement in sustained MLC20 phosphorylation and contraction.
Abbreviations used: ACh, acetylcholine; Cdc42, cell division cycle 42 kinase; PKC, protein kinase C; CPI-17, PKC-activated 17 kDa inhibitor protein of type 1 phosphatase; 4-DAMP, 4-diphenylacetoxy-N-methylpiperidine; DN, dominant negative; DTT, dithiothreitol; MLC20, 20 kDa regulatory light chain of myosin II; MLCK, myosin light chain kinase; MLCP, MLC phosphatase; MYPT1, myosin phosphatase targeting subunit; PAK1, p21-activated kinase 1; PEt, phosphatidylethanol; PI, phosphoinositide; PLC-β1, phospholipase C-β1; PLD, phospholipase D; PTx, pertussis toxin; Rho kinase, Rho-associated kinase; TCA, trichloroacetic acid.