ZIP kinase, a key regulator of myosin protein phosphatase 1.
Two major physiological roles have been defined for zipper interacting protein kinase (ZIPK), regulation of apoptosis in non-muscle cells and regulation of Ca(2+) sensitization in smooth muscle. Although much attention has focused on the role of ZIPK in the regulation of apoptotic events, its roles in smooth muscle are likely to have equal if not greater physiological relevance. We first identified ZIPK as a major protein kinase controlling the phosphorylation of myosin phosphatase (SMPP-1M) and the inhibitor protein CPI17 in smooth muscle. Phosphorylation of SMPP-1M and CPI17 by ZIPK inhibits phosphatase activity towards myosin and causes profound Ca(2+) sensitization and contraction in smooth muscle. ZIPK will also directly phosphorylate both muscle and non-muscle myosin. The highly selective actions of ZIPK in the control of myosin phosphorylation potentially make the enzyme an ideal candidate for the development of novel therapeutics to treat smooth muscle related disorders such as hypertension or asthma.
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