α1-Adrenergic signaling mechanisms in contraction of resistance arteries

  • W. G. WierEmail author
  • K. G. Morgan
Part of the Reviews of Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology book series (REVIEWS, volume 150)


Our goal in this review is to provide a comprehensive, integrated view of the numerous signaling pathways that are activated by α1-adrenoceptors and control actin-myosin interactions (i.e., crossbridge cycling and force generation) in mammalian arterial smooth muscle. These signaling pathways may be categorized broadly as leading either to thick (myosin) filament regulation or to thin (actin) filament regulation. Thick filament regulation encompasses both “Ca2+ activation” and “Ca2+-sensitization” as it involves both activation of myosin light chain kinase (MLCK) by Ca2+-calmodulin and regulation of myosin light chain phosphatase (MLCP) activity. With respect to Ca2+ activation, adrenergically induced Ca2+ transients in individual smooth muscle cells of intact arteries are now being shown by high resolution imaging to be sarcoplasmic reticulum-dependent asynchronous propagating Ca2+ waves. These waves differ from the spatially uniform increases in [Ca2+] previously assumed. Similarly, imaging during adrenergic activation has revealed the dynamic translocation, to membranes and other subcellular sites, of protein kinases (e.g., Ca2+-activated protein kinases, PKCs) that are involved in regulation of MLCP and thus in “Ca2+ sensitization” of contraction. Thin filament regulation includes the possible disinhibition of actin-myosin interactions by phosphorylation of CaD, possibly by mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases that are also translocated during adrenergic activation. An hypothesis for the mechanisms of adrenergic activation of small arteries is advanced. This involves asynchronous Ca2+ waves in individual SMC, synchronous Ca2+ oscillations (at high levels of adrenergic activation), Ca2+ sparks, “Ca2+-sensitization” by PKC and Rho-associated kinase (ROK), and thin filament mechanisms.


Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Myosin Light Chain Kinase Extracellular Regulate Kinase Myosin Light Chain Phosphatase Myosin Phosphatase 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.





Actin binding sequence no. 1


Large conductance potassium channel





CaMKinase II

Calmodulin kinase II




Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release


Cyclopiazonic acid


Protein kinase C-potentiated 17 kDa inhibitor protein










Extracellular-regulated kinase


Frequent discharge sites


Fluorescence recovery after photobleaching


Fluorescence resonance energy transfer


Guanine nucleotide exchange factor


Fluorophore peptide antagonist of caldesmon


1-(5-Isoquinolinesulfonyl)homopiperazine, Di-HCl Salt


InsP3−induced Ca2+ release


Integrin-linked kinase


1,4,5-Trisphosphate receptor


Inferior vena cava


Junctional calcium transients


20,000 Da light chain of smooth muscle myosin


Small noncatalytic subunit of myosin phosphatase


Large noncatalytic subunit of myosin phosphatase

MAP kinase

Mitogen-activated protein kinase


MAPK kinase


1-(5-Chloronaphthalene-1-sulfonyl)-1H-hexahydro-1,4-diazepine hydrochloride


Myosin light chain kinase


Myosin light chain phosphatase


Myosin light chain 20


Myosin phosphatase


Targeting subunit of myosin phosphatase


Na/Ca exchanger




A rho kinase


P21-activated kinase




Prostaglandin factor 2α


Protein kinase C


Protein kinase C-α


Rho effector, protein kinase C-related kinase




Phospholipase C


Plasmalemma-junctional sarcoplasmic reticulum


Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate


Catalytic subunit of myosin phosphatase


Point spread function


Plasmalemma Ca2+ pumping ATPase


Plasma membrane-sarcoplasmic reticulum


Rho-associated kinase


Ryanodine receptor


Superficial buffer barrier


Sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase




Smooth muscle cell


Smooth muscle phosphatase-1M


Store-operated channels


Sarcoplasmic reticulum


Spontaneous transient outward currents


Inhibitory subunit troponin I


N,N,N′N′-tetrakis (2-pyridylmethyl) ethylenediamine




Uridine 5′-triphosphate


Vascular smooth muscle cells

ZIP kinase

Zipper interacting protein kinase


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physiology, School of MedicineUniversity of MarylandBaltimoreUSA
  2. 2.Boston Biomedical Research InstituteWatertownUSA

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