Research ArticleVASCULAR BIOLOGY

RSK2 contributes to myogenic vasoconstriction of resistance arteries by activating smooth muscle myosin and the Na+/H+ exchanger

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Science Signaling  30 Oct 2018:
Vol. 11, Issue 554, eaar3924
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aar3924

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RSK2 restricts blood vessel diameter

Phosphorylation of myosin enables smooth muscle cells to contract and cause vasoconstriction. This phosphorylation event has generally been attributed to myosin light chain kinase (MLCK). However, Artamonov et al. discovered that the kinase RSK2 was activated by intraluminal pressure or stimuli that promote vasoconstriction in resistance arteries and that it phosphorylated smooth muscle myosin. In addition, RSK2 phosphorylated the Na+/H+ exchanger, a transporter that increases intracellular pH when activated, leading to Ca2+ transients that would be expected to activate MLCK and thereby also contribute to vasoconstriction. Accordingly, mice deficient in RSK2 had dilated arteries and lower blood pressure than their wild-type littermates. These results identify RSK2 as a potential drug target for manipulating blood pressure.