DOI: 10.1111/jcmm.18025 ISSN: 1582-1838

Calponin 1 inhibits agonist‐induced ERK activation and decreases calcium sensitization in vascular smooth muscle

Lova Prasadareddy Kajuluri, Qing Rex Lyu, Jaser Doja, Ajay Kumar, Michael P. Wilson, Samantha R. Sgrizzi, Elika Rezaeimanesh, Joseph M. Miano, Kathleen G. Morgan
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Medicine


Smooth muscle cell (SMC) contraction and vascular tone are modulated by phosphorylation and multiple modifications of the thick filament, and thin filament regulation of SMC contraction has been reported to involve extracellular regulated kinase (ERK). Previous studies in ferrets suggest that the actin‐binding protein, calponin 1 (CNN1), acts as a scaffold linking protein kinase C (PKC), Raf, MEK and ERK, promoting PKC‐dependent ERK activation. To gain further insight into this function of CNN1 in ERK activation and the regulation of SMC contractility in mice, we generated a novel Calponin 1 knockout mouse (Cnn1 KO) by a single base substitution in an intronic CArG box that preferentially abolishes expression of CNN1 in vascular SMCs. Using this new Cnn1 KO mouse, we show that ablation of CNN1 has two effects, depending on the cytosolic free calcium level: (1) in the presence of elevated intracellular calcium caused by agonist stimulation, Cnn1 KO mice display a reduced amplitude of stress and stiffness but an increase in agonist‐induced ERK activation; and (2) during intracellular calcium depletion, in the presence of an agonist, Cnn1 KO mice exhibit increased duration of SM tone maintenance. Together, these results suggest that CNN1 plays an important and complex modulatory role in SMC contractile tone amplitude and maintenance.

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