RhoA/Rho-kinase in erectile tissue: Mechanisms of disease and therapeutic insights

Liming Jin, Arthur L. Burnett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Penile erection is a complicated event involving the regulation of corpus cavernosal smooth muscle tone. Recently, the small monomeric G-protein RhoA and its downstream effector Rho-kinase have been proposed to be important players for mediating vasoconstriction in the penis. RhoA/Rho-kinase increases MLC (myosin light chain) phosphorylation through inhibition of MLCP (MLC phosphatase) thereby increasing Ca2+ sensitivity. This review will outline the RhoA/Rho-kinase signalling pathway, including the upstream regulators, guanine nucleotide exchange factors, GDP dissociation inhibitors and GTPase-activating proteins. We also summarize the current knowledge about the physiological roles of RhoA/Rho-kinase in both male and female erectile tissues and its aberrations contributing to erectile dysfunction in several disease states. Understanding the RhoA/Rho-kinase signalling pathway in the regulation of erection is important for the development of therapeutic interventions for erectile dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-165
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Corpus cavernosum
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Penis
  • Rho-kinase
  • RhoA
  • Smooth muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'RhoA/Rho-kinase in erectile tissue: Mechanisms of disease and therapeutic insights'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this