Regulation of calcium channels in smooth muscle: new insights into the role of myosin light chain kinase

Anneloes Martinsen, Chantal Dessy, Nicole Morel

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationBook/Film/Article review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Smooth muscle myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) plays a crucial role in artery contraction, which regulates blood pressure and blood flow distribution. In addition to this role, MLCK contributes to Ca(2+) flux regulation in vascular smooth muscle (VSM) and in non-muscle cells, where cytoskeleton has been suggested to help Ca(2+) channels trafficking. This conclusion is based on the use of pharmacological inhibitors of MLCK and molecular and cellular techniques developed to down-regulate the enzyme. Dissimilarities have been observed between cells and whole tissues, as well as between large conductance and small resistance arteries. A differential expression in MLCK and ion channels (either voltage-dependent Ca(2+) channels or non-selective cationic channels) could account for these observations, and is in line with the functional properties of the arteries. A potential involvement of MLCK in the pathways modulating Ca(2+) entry in VSM is described in the present review.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationChannels
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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