What's known on the subject? and What does the study add? MLCK and MLCP play key roles in regulating muscle tones in the bladder and urethra. Bladder has higher MLCK and lower MLCP activities relative to the urethra, providing evidence at the molecular level for the concept of the bladder being phasic while the urethra being tonic at their respective default states. Objective: To assess and compare the expression and activity of myosin light-chain kinase (MLCK) and MLC phosphatase (MLCP) in rat bladder and urethra. Materials and methods: Bladder and urethral smooth muscles were obtained from 2-month-old female Sprague-Dawley rats. They were analysed by real-time polymerase chain reaction for the mRNA expression of MLCK and myosin phosphatase-targeting subunit of protein phosphatase type 1 (MYPT1, a subunit of MLCP). Levels of MLCK and MYPT1 mRNA expression were determined as a ratio to the expression of glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). The tissues were also analysed by Western blotting for MLCK and MYPT1 protein expression as a ratio to the expression of β-actin. A two-step enzymatic activity assay using phosphorylated and dephosphorylated smooth muscle myosin was used to assess MLCK and MLCP activity. Results: MLCK mRNA expression was higher in the bladder than in the urethra [mean (sd) ratio to GAPDH: 0.26 (0.17) vs 0.14 (0.12); P= 0.09]. MYPT1 mRNA expression was significantly higher in the bladder than in the urethra [mean (sd) ratio to GAPDH: 2.31 (1.04) vs 0.56 (0.36); P= 0.001]. Expression of both MLCK and MYPT1 protein was significantly higher in the bladder compared with the urethra [mean (sd) ratio to β-actin: 1.63 (0.25) vs 0.91 (0.29) and 0.97 (0.10) vs 0.37 (0.29), respectively; both P < 0.001]. Enzymatic assay identified significantly greater MLCK activity in the bladder than in the urethra. While, MLCP activity was lower in the bladder than in the urethra. Conclusion: In healthy young female rats, MLCK activity is higher and MLCP activity is lower in the bladder relative to the urethra. These differences probably play a role in modulating the functional differences between bladder and urethral smooth muscle tone.
- myosin light-chain kinase
- myosin light-chain phosphatase
ASJC Scopus subject areas