Vascular smooth muscle contraction plays a defining role in the regulation and maintenance of blood pressure, and its deregulation is associated with many clinical syndromes including hypertension, coronary vasospasm and congestive heart failure. Over the past 20 years, there has been a growing understanding of the regulation of 20 kDa myosin light chain phosphorylation by myosin light chain kinase and myosin light chain phosphatase, the role of splice-variant isoforms of both the myosin heavy chain and the essential myosin light chain, as well as the signaling pathways involved in smooth muscle contraction under normal and pathophysiological conditions. This review will attempt to recapitulate the data in the field, primarily focusing on the contractile response of smooth muscle, and the molecular determinants responsible for the regulation of vascular tone.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine