Divergent Regulation of Actin Dynamics and Megakaryoblastic Leukemia-1 and -2 (Mkl1/2) by cAMP in Endothelial and Smooth Muscle Cells

Madeleine Smith, Claire Hudson, Tomomi Kimura-Wozniak, Steve White, Graciela Sala-Newby, Andrew Newby, Mark Bond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
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Proliferation and migration of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) or endothelial cell (ECs) promote or inhibit, respectively, restenosis after angioplasty, vein graft intimal thickening and atherogenesis. Here we investigated the effects of cAMP-induced cytoskeletal remodelling on the serum response factor (SRF) co-factors Megakaryoblastic Leukemia-1 and -2 (MKL1 and MKL2) and their role in controlling VSMC and EC proliferation and migration.
Elevation of cAMP using forskolin, dibutyryl-cAMP (db-cAMP), BAY60-6583 or Cicaprost induced rapid cytoskeleton remodelling and inhibited proliferation and migration in VSMCs but not EC. Furthermore, elevated cAMP inhibited mitogen-induced nuclear-translocation of MKL1 and MKL2 in VSMCs but not ECs. Forskolin also significantly inhibited serum response factor (SRF)-dependent reporter gene (SRE-LUC) activity and mRNA expression of pro-proliferative and pro-migratory MKL1/2 target genes in VSMCs but not in ECs. In ECs, MKL1 was constitutively nuclear and MKL2 cytoplasmic, irrespective of mitogens or cAMP. Pharmacological or siRNA inhibition of MKL1 significantly inhibited the proliferation and migration of VSMC and EC.
Our new data identifies and important contribution of MKL1/2 to explaining the strikingly different response of VSMCs and ECs to cAMP elevation. Elucidation of these pathways promises to identify targets for specific inhibition of VSMC migration and proliferation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3681
Number of pages13
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2017


  • MKL1
  • MKL2
  • cAMP
  • endothelial
  • VSMC
  • Proliferation
  • Cell growth
  • RHO signalling
  • Stress fibres


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