The small phosphoprotein pCPI-17 inhibits myosin light-chain phosphatase (MLCP). Current models postulate that during muscle relaxation, phosphatases other than MLCP dephosphorylate and inactivate pCPI-17 to restore MLCP activity. We show here that such hypotheses are insufficient to account for the observed rapidity of pCPI-17 inactivation in mammalian smooth muscles. Instead, MLCP itself is the critical enzyme for pCPI-17 dephosphorylation. We call the mutual sequestration mechanism through which pCPI-17 and MLCP interact inhibition by unfair competition: MLCP protects pCPI-17 from other phosphatases, while pCPI-17 blocks other substrates from MLCP's active site. MLCP dephosphorylates pCPI-17 at a slow rate that is, nonetheless, both sufficient and necessary to explain the speed of pCPI-17 dephosphorylation and the consequent MLCP activation during muscle relaxation.
Filter, Joshua J.; Williams, Byron C.; Eto, Masumi; Shalloway, David; and Goldberg, Michael L., "Unfair competition governs the interaction of pCPI-17 with myosin phosphatase (PP1-MYPT1)." (2017). Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Faculty Papers. Paper 15.
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