Rac1 modulates G-protein-coupled receptor-induced bronchial smooth muscle contraction

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Increasing evidence suggests a functional role of RhoA/Rho-kinase signalling as a mechanism for smooth muscle contraction; however, little is known regarding the roles of Rac1 and other members of the Rho protein family. This study aimed to examine whether Rac1 modulates bronchial smooth muscle contraction. Ring preparations of bronchi isolated from rats were suspended in an organ bath, and isometric contraction of circular smooth muscle was measured. Immunoblotting was used to examine myosin light chain phosphorylation in bronchial smooth muscle. Our results demonstrated that muscle contractions induced by carbachol (CCh) and endothelin-1 (ET-1) were inhibited by EHT1864, a selective Rac1 inhibitor, and NSC23766, a selective inhibitor of Rac1-specific guanine nucleotide exchange factors. Similarly, myosin light chain and myosin phosphatase target subunit 1 (MYPT1) at Thr853 phosphorylation induced by contractile agonist were inhibited with Rac1 inhibition. However, contractions induced by high K+, calyculin A (a potent protein phosphatase inhibitor) and K+/PDBu were not inhibited by these Rac1 inhibitors. Interestingly, NaF (a G-protein activator)-induced contractions were inhibited by EHT1864 but not by NSC23766. We next examined the effects of a trans-acting activator of transcription protein transduction domain (PTD) fusion protein with Rac1 (PTD-Rac1) on muscle contraction. The constitutively active form of PTD-Rac1 directly induced force development and contractions were abolished by EHT1864. These results suggest that Rac1, activated by G protein-coupled receptor agonists, such as CCh and ET-1, may induce myosin light chain and MYPT phosphorylation and modulate the contraction of bronchial smooth muscle.

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