Background & Aims: Actin-myosin II motor converts chemical energy into force/motion in muscle and nonmuscle cells. The phosphorylation of 20-kilodalton regulatory myosin light chain (MLC20) is critical to the cytoplasmic functions of these motors. We do not know whether myosin II and actins in the nucleus function as motors to generate relative motion, such as that between RNA polymerase II holoenzyme and DNA, for assembly of the preinitiation complex. Methods: The experiments were performed on primary cultures of human colonic circular smooth muscle cells and rat colonic circular muscle strips. Results: We show that myosin II and α- and β-actins are present in the nuclei of colonic smooth muscle cells. The nuclear myosin II is tethered to recognition sequence AGCTCC (-39/-34) in the intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) core promoter region. The actins are known to complex with RNA polymerase II, and they are tethered to the nucleoskeleton. The dephosphorylation of MLC20 increases the transcription of ICAM-1, whereas its phosphorylation decreases it. Colonic inflammation suppresses nuclear myosin light chain kinase, which increases the unphosphorylated form of nuclear MLC20, resulting in enhanced transcription of ICAM-1. Conclusions: Myosin II is a core transcription factor. The phosphorylation/dephosphorylation of nuclear MLC20 results in the sliding of myosin and actin molecules past each other, producing relative motion between DNA bound to the myosin II and RNA polymerase II holoenzyme bound to actins and nucleoskeleton.
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