A splice variant of the myosin phosphatase regulatory subunit tunes arterial reactivity and suppresses response to salt loading

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology








Blood pressure; cGMP; Mesenteric artery; Nitric oxide; Smooth muscle


© 2016 the American Physiological Society. The cGMP activated kinase cGK1α is targeted to its substrates via leucine zipper (LZ)-mediated heterodimerization and thereby mediates vascular smooth muscle (VSM) relaxation. One target is myosin phosphatase (MP), which when activated by cGK1α results in VSM relaxation even in the presence of activating calcium. Variants of MP regulatory subunit Mypt1 are generated by alternative splicing of the 31 nt exon 24 (E24), which, by changing the reading frame, codes for isoforms that contain or lack the COOH-terminal LZ motif (E24+/LZ−; E24−/LZ+). Expression of these isoforms is vessel specific and developmentally regulated, modulates in disease, and is proposed to confer sensitivity to nitric oxide (NO)/cGMP-mediated vasorelaxation. To test this, mice underwent Tamoxifen-inducible and smooth muscle-specific knockout of E24 (E24 cKO) after weaning. Deletion of a single allele of E24 (shift to Mypt1 LZ+) enhanced vasorelaxation of first-order mesenteric arteries (MA1) to diethylamine-NONOate (DEA/NO) and to cGMP in permeabilized and calcium-clamped arteries and lowered blood pressure. There was no further effect of deletion of both E24 alleles, indicating high sensitivity to shift of Mypt1 isoforms. However, a unique property of MA1s from homozygous E24 cKOs was significantly reduced force generation to α-adrenergic activation. Furthermore 2 wk of high-salt (4% NaCl) diet increased MA1 force generation to phenylephrine in control mice, a response that was markedly suppressed in the E24 cKO homozygotes. Thus Mypt1 E24 splice variants tune arterial reactivity and could be worthy targets for lowering vascular resistance in disease states.