The Journal of biological chemistry

Polo-like Kinase 1 Regulates Vimentin Phosphorylation at Ser-56 and Contraction in Smooth Muscle.

PMID 27662907


Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) is a serine/threonine-protein kinase that has been implicated in mitosis, cytokinesis, and smooth muscle cell proliferation. The role of Plk1 in smooth muscle contraction has not been investigated. Here, stimulation with acetylcholine induced Plk1 phosphorylation at Thr-210 (an indication of Plk1 activation) in smooth muscle. Contractile stimulation also activated Plk1 in live smooth muscle cells as evidenced by changes in fluorescence resonance energy transfer signal of a Plk1 sensor. Moreover, knockdown of Plk1 in smooth muscle attenuated force development. Smooth muscle conditional knock-out of Plk1 also diminished contraction of mouse tracheal rings. Plk1 knockdown inhibited acetylcholine-induced vimentin phosphorylation at Ser-56 without affecting myosin light chain phosphorylation. Expression of T210A Plk1 inhibited the agonist-induced vimentin phosphorylation at Ser-56 and contraction in smooth muscle. However, myosin light chain phosphorylation was not affected by T210A Plk1. Ste20-like kinase (SLK) is a serine/threonine-protein kinase that has been implicated in spindle orientation and microtubule organization during mitosis. In this study knockdown of SLK inhibited Plk1 phosphorylation at Thr-210 and activation. Finally, asthma is characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness, which largely stems from airway smooth muscle hyperreactivity. Here, smooth muscle conditional knock-out of Plk1 attenuated airway resistance and airway smooth muscle hyperreactivity in a murine model of asthma. Taken together, these findings suggest that Plk1 regulates smooth muscle contraction by modulating vimentin phosphorylation at Ser-56. Plk1 activation is regulated by SLK during contractile activation. Plk1 contributes to the pathogenesis of asthma.