Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

John Grider


The longitudinal muscle layer in gut is the functional opponent to the circular muscle layer during the peristalsis reflex. Differences in innervation of the layers allow for the contraction of one layer that corresponds with the simultaneous relaxation of the other, enabling the passage of gut contents in a controlled fashion. Differences in development have given the cells of the two layers differences in receptor populations, membrane lipid handling, and calcium handling profiles/behaviors. The kinase signaling differences between the two layers is not as well characterized. Upon activation of cells from the circular muscle layer, it is known that Rho kinase and ERK1/2 promote contraction, while CaMKK/AMPK and CaMKII perform inhibitory/self-inhibitory roles. Such behaviors are poorly understood in the longitudinal muscle layer. In longitudinal muscle strips, we measured muscarinic receptor-mediated contraction following incubation with kinase inhibitors. Upon comparison to control, contributions of Rho Kinase and ERK1/2 were similar to those seen in circular muscle. Inhibition of both of these enzymes leads to diminished contraction. However, CaMKK/AMPK and CaMKII have effects in longitudinal muscle opposite to their regulation in circular muscle – their inhibition also diminishes the contractile response. These contractile data from strips were supported by immunokinase assay measurements of MLCK activity from strip homogenates with and without kinase inhibition. Therefore, we suggest that the activities of CaMKK/AMPK and CaMKII in longitudinal muscle are indeed different from their regulatory roles in circular muscle, perhaps a consequence of the different calcium handling modalities of the two muscle types.


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Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

May 2011

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