The suppression of myosin light chain (MLC) phosphorylation during the response to lipopolysaccharide (LPS): Beneficial or detrimental to endothelial barrier?

Natalia V. Bogatcheva, Marina A. Zemskova, Christophe Poirier, Tamara Mirzapoiazova, Irina Kolosova, Anne R. Bresnick, Alexander D. Verin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

28 Scopus citations


Sepsis-induced vascular leakage is a major underlying cause of the respiratory dysfunction seen in severe sepsis. Here, we studied the role of MLC phosphorylation in LPS-induced endothelial hyperpermeability and assessed how the changes in phospho-MLC distribution affect LPS-induced barrier dysfunction. We demonstrated that the changes in human lung microvascular endothelial permeability are preceded by the increase in intracellular calcium level, and increase in MYPT and MLC phosphorylation. Using the siRNA approach, we showed that both LPS-induced barrier dysfunction and MLC phosphorylation are attenuated by the depletion of the smooth muscle isoform of MLC kinase (MLCK) and Rho kinase 2 (ROCK2). Surprisingly, pharmacological inhibition of both ROCK1 and 2 with Y-27632 exacerbated LPS-induced drop in transendothelial resistance, although significantly decreasing MLC phosphorylation level. We next studied the involvement of protein kinase A (PKA)-dependent pathways in LPS-induced barrier dysfunction. We showed that LPS decreased the level of PKA-dependent phosphorylation in endothelial cells; and the pretreatment with forskolin or PKA activator bnz-cAMP counteracted this effect. Forskolin and bnz-cAMP also attenuated LPS-induced increase in MLC phosphorylation level. As we have shown earlier (Bogatcheva et al., 2009), forskolin and bnz-cAMP provide protection from LPS-induced barrier dysfunction. We compared the effects of bnz-cAMP and Y-27632 on phospho-MLC distribution and observed that while bnz-cAMP increased the association of the phospho-MLC signal with the cortical structures, Y-27632 decreased this association. These data indicate that an overall decrease in MLC phosphorylation could be either beneficial or detrimental to endothelial barrier, depending on the intracellular locale of major phospho-MLC changes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3132-3146
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2011


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology

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