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The intestinal epithelial apical junctional complex, which includes tight and adherens junctions, contributes to the intestinal barrier function via their role in regulating paracellular permeability. Myosin light chain II (MLC-2), has been shown to be a critical regulatory protein in altering paracellular permeability during gastrointestinal disorders. Previous studies have demonstrated that phosphorylation of MLC-2 is a biochemical marker for perijunctional actomyosin ring contraction, which increases paracellular permeability by regulating the apical junctional complex. The phosphorylation of MLC-2 is dominantly regulated by myosin light chain kinase- (MLCK-) and Rho-associated coiled-coil containing protein kinase- (ROCK-) mediated pathways. In this review, we aim to summarize the current state of knowledge regarding the role of MLCK- and ROCK-mediated pathways in the regulation of the intestinal barrier during normal homeostasis and digestive diseases. Additionally, we will also suggest potential therapeutic targeting of MLCK- and ROCK-associated pathways in gastrointestinal disorders that compromise the intestinal barrier.


Younggeon Jin, Anthony T Blikslager. The Regulation of Intestinal Mucosal Barrier by Myosin Light Chain Kinase/Rho Kinases. International journal of molecular sciences. 2020 May 18;21(10)

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PMID: 32443411

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