Volume 49 (2013) Pages 26-45
Rho-associated kinase (ROK) activation plays an important role in K+-induced contraction of rat caudal arterial smooth muscle (Mita et al., Biochem J. 2002; 364: 431–40). The present study investigated a potential role for tyrosine kinase activity in K+-induced RhoA activation and contraction. The non-selective tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein, but not the src family tyrosine kinase inhibitor PP2, inhibited K+-induced sustained contraction (IC50 = 11.3 ± 2.4 μM). Genistein (10 μM) inhibited the K+-induced increase in myosin light chain (LC20) phosphorylation without affecting the Ca2+ transient. The tyrosine phosphatase inhibitor vanadate induced contraction that was reversed by genistein (IC50 = 6.5 ± 2.3 μM) and the ROK inhibitor Y-27632 (IC50 = 0.27 ± 0.04 μM). Vanadate also increased LC20 phosphorylation in a genistein- and Y-27632-dependent manner. K+ stimulation induced translocation of RhoA to the membrane, which was inhibited by genistein. Phosphorylation of MYPT1 (myosin-targeting subunit of myosin light chain phosphatase) was significantly increased at Thr855 and Thr697 by K+ stimulation in a genistein- and Y-27632-sensitive manner. Finally, K+ stimulation induced genistein-sensitive tyrosine phosphorylation of proteins of ~55, 70 and 113 kDa. We conclude that a genistein-sensitive tyrosine kinase, activated by the membrane depolarization-induced increase in [Ca2+]i, is involved in the RhoA/ROK activation and sustained contraction induced by K+.