Main content area

Ablation of smooth muscle myosin heavy chain SM2 increases smooth muscle contraction and results in postnatal death in mice

Chi, Mei, Zhou, Yingbi, Vedamoorthyrao, Srikanth, Babu, Gopal J., Periasamy, Muthu
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 2008 v.105 no.47 pp. 18614-18618
actin, agonists, animal models, aorta, bladder, carbachol, contractile proteins, death, gene targeting, heterozygosity, homozygosity, mice, muscle contraction, muscles, myosin heavy chains, myosin light chains, pelvis, phosphorylation, potassium, smooth muscle, tropomyosins, urine
The physiological relevance of smooth muscle myosin isoforms SM1 and SM2 has not been understood. In this study we generated a mouse model specifically deficient in SM2 myosin isoform but expressing SM1, using an exon-specific gene targeting strategy. The SM2 homozygous knockout (SM2⁻/⁻) mice died within 30 days after birth, showing pathologies including segmental distention of alimentary tract, retention of urine in renal pelvis, distension of bladder, and the development of end-stage hydronephrosis. In contrast, the heterozygous (SM2⁺/⁻) mice appeared normal and reproduced well. In SM2⁻/⁻ bladder smooth muscle the loss of SM2 myosin was accompanied by a concomitant down-regulation of SM1 and a reduced number of thick filaments. However, muscle strips from SM2⁻/⁻ bladder showed increased contraction to K⁺ depolarization or in response to M3 receptor agonist Carbachol. An increase of contraction was also observed in SM2⁻/⁻ aorta. However, the SM2⁻/⁻ bladder was associated with unaltered regulatory myosin light chain (MLC20) phosphorylation. Moreover, other contractile proteins, such as α-actin and tropomyosin, were not altered in SM2⁻/⁻ bladder. Therefore, the loss of SM2 myosin alone could have induced hypercontractility in smooth muscle, suggesting that distinctly from SM1, SM2 may negatively modulate force development during smooth muscle contraction. Also, because SM2⁻/⁻ mice develop lethal multiorgan dysfunctions, we propose this regulatory property of SM2 is essential for normal contractile activity in postnatal smooth muscle physiology.