The small GTPase Rho is implicated in cytoskeletal rearrangements including stress fiber and focal adhesion formation and in the transcriptional activation of c-fos serum response element. In vitro, Rho- kinase, which is activated by Rho, phosphorylates not only myosin light chain (MLC) (thereby activating myosin ATPase) but also myosin phosphatase, thus inactivating myosin phosphatase. Rho-kinase is involved in the formation of stress fibers and focal adhesions in fibroblasts. Here we show that the expression of constitutively active Rho-kinase increased the level of MLC phosphorylation. The activity of Rho-kinase was necessary for maintaining the vinculin-containing focal adhesions, whereas organized actin stress fibers were not necessary for this. The microinjection of constitutively active Rho- kinase into fibroblasts induced the formation of focal adhesions to some extent under the conditions where organized actin stress fibers were disrupted. The expression of constitutively active Rho-kinase also stimulated the transcriptional activity of c-fos serum response element. These results suggest that Rho-kinase has distinct roles in divergent pathways downstream of Rho, which include MLC phosphorylation leading to stress fiber formation, focal adhesion formation, and gene expression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology