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Keywords:

  • Rho;
  • kinase;
  • cytoskeleton;
  • actomyosin;
  • polarity

Abstract

Rho-associated kinase (Rho-kinase/ROCK/ROK) is an effector of the small GTPase Rho and belongs to the AGC family of kinases. Rho-kinase has pleiotropic functions including the regulation of cellular contraction, motility, morphology, polarity, cell division, and gene expression. Pharmacological analyses have revealed that Rho-kinase is involved in a wide range of diseases such as vasospasm, pulmonary hypertension, nerve injury, and glaucoma, and is therefore considered to be a potential therapeutic target. This review focuses on the structure, function, and modes of activation and action of Rho-kinase. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.