2001 Volume 26 Issue 6 Pages 639-644
Phosphorylation of regulatory light chain (RMLC) of myosin II at Ser19/Thr18 is likely to play important roles in controlling the morphological changes seen during cell division of cultured mammalian cells. Phosphorylation of RMLC regulates the activity of myosin II, an essntial motor for cytokinesis, and phosphorylation of RMLC shows dramatic changes during mitosis. Two exzymes, myosin phosphatase and kinase, control phosphorylation of RMLC. Myosin phosphatase is activated during mitosis, apparently as a result of mitosis-specific phosphorylation of the myosin phosphatase targeting subunit (MYPT). This activation of myosin phosphatase is likely to result in RMLC dephosphorylation, causing the disassemly of stress fibers and focal adhesions during prophase. The phosphorylation of MYPT is lost in cyotokinesis, which would decrease myosin phosphatase activity. At the same time, ROCK (Rho-kinase) probably phosphorylates MYPT at its inhibitory sites, further decreasing the activity of myosin phosphatase. These changes in MYPT phosphorylation would raise RMLC phosphorylation, leading to the activation of myosin II for cyotokinesis. RMLC phosphorylation is also regulated by several RMLC kinases including ROCK (Rho-kinase), MLCK and citron kinase, all of which are localized at cleavage furrows. Future studies should examine whether these multiple kinases are redundant or whether they control distinct aspects of cell division.