Avril V. Somlyo


Primary Appointment

Wage Faculty, Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics


  • MSc, Pathology, University of Saskatchewan, Canada
  • PhD, Physiology, University of Pennsylvania, PA

Research Disciplines

Biophysics, Cardiovascular Biology, Physiology

Personal Statement

The study of smooth muscle, with its diversity of multiple signaling pathways that regulate and fine-tune the contractile apparatus in smooth muscle has been a fascinating focus for my laboratory for many years. Apart from the intellectual rewards of understanding basic mechanisms, this interest is driven by the physiological importance of smooth muscle (SM) both under normal conditions and in diseases, such as hypertension, stroke, asthma, urinary incontinence and motility disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and by the possibility of identifying better targets for therapies.


  • Basic Cardiovascular Research Training Grant

Selected Publications


Artamonov, M. V., Sonkusare, S. K., Good, M. E., Momotani, K., Eto, M., Isakson, B. E., . . . Somlyo, A. V. (2018). RSK2 contributes to myogenic vasoconstriction of resistance arteries by activating smooth muscle myosin and the Na+/H+ exchanger. SCIENCE SIGNALING, 11(554). doi:10.1126/scisignal.aar3924

DeLalio, L. J., Keller, A. S., Chen, J., Boyce, A. K. J., Artamonov, M. V., Askew-Page, H. R., . . . Isakson, B. E. (2018). Interaction Between Pannexin 1 and Caveolin-1 in Smooth Muscle Can Regulate Blood Pressure. ARTERIOSCLEROSIS THROMBOSIS AND VASCULAR BIOLOGY, 38(9), 2065-2078. doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.118.311290


Utepbergenov, D., Hennig, P. M., Derewenda, U., Artamonov, M. V., Somlyo, A. V., & Derewenda, Z. S. (2016). Bacterial Expression, Purification and In Vitro Phosphorylation of Full-Length Ribosomal S6 Kinase 2 (RSK2). PLOS ONE, 11(10). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0164343

Amin, E., Jaiswal, M., Derewenda, U., Reis, K., Nouri, K., Koessmeier, K. T., . . . Ahmadian, M. R. (2016). Deciphering the Molecular and Functional Basis of RHOGAP Family Proteins: A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH TOWARD SELECTIVE INACTIVATION OF RHO FAMILY PROTEINS. JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY, 291(39), 20353-20371. doi:10.1074/jbc.M116.736967


An, C., Bhetwal, B. P., Sanders, K. M., Somlyo, A. V., & Perrino, B. A. (2015). Role of Telokin in Regulating Murine Gastric Fundus Smooth Muscle Tension. PLOS ONE, 10(8). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0134876

Artamonov, M. V., Jin, L., Franke, A. S., Momotani, K., Ho, R., Dong, X. R., . . . Somlyo, A. V. (2015). Signaling Pathways That Control Rho Kinase Activity Maintain the Embryonic Epicardial Progenitor State. JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY, 290(16), 10353-10367. doi:10.1074/jbc.M114.613190

Billaud, M., Chiu, Y. -H., Lohman, A. W., Parpaite, T., Butcher, J. T., Mutchler, S. M., . . . Isakson, B. E. (2015). A molecular signature in the pannexin1 intracellular loop confers channel activation by the α1 adrenoreceptor in smooth muscle cells. SCIENCE SIGNALING, 8(364). doi:10.1126/scisignal.2005824

Somlyo, A. V. (2015). Smooth muscle mysosin filament controversy, once again?. JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-LONDON, 593(2), 473-475. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2014.285866


Straub, A. C., Butcher, J. T., Billaud, M., Mutchler, S. M., Artamonov, M. V., Nguyen, A. T., . . . Isakson, B. E. (2014). Hemoglobin α/eNOS Coupling at Myoendothelial Junctions Is Required for Nitric Oxide Scavenging During Vasoconstriction. ARTERIOSCLEROSIS THROMBOSIS AND VASCULAR BIOLOGY, 34(12), 2594-2600. doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.114.303974

Somlyo, A. (2014). Regulatory circuits in cell motility. JOURNAL OF MUSCLE RESEARCH AND CELL MOTILITY, 35(3-4), 235. doi:10.1007/s10974-013-9372-7

Lakshmikanthan, S., Zieba, B. J., Ge, Z. -D., Momotani, K., Zheng, X., Lund, H., . . . Chrzanowska-Wodnicka, M. (2014). Rap1b in Smooth Muscle and Endothelium Is Required for Maintenance of Vascular Tone and Normal Blood Pressure. ARTERIOSCLEROSIS THROMBOSIS AND VASCULAR BIOLOGY, 34(7), 1486-+. doi:10.1161/ATVBAHA.114.303678


Carlson, D. A., Franke, A. S., Weitzel, D. H., Speer, B. L., Hughes, P. F., Hagerty, L., . . . Haystead, T. A. J. (2013). Fluorescence Linked Enzyme Chemoproteomic Strategy for Discovery of a Potent and Selective DAPK1 and ZIPK Inhibitor. ACS CHEMICAL BIOLOGY, 8(12), 2715-2723. doi:10.1021/cb400407c

Artamonov, M. V., Momotani, K., Stevenson, A., Trentham, D. R., Derewenda, U., Derewenda, Z. S., . . . Somlyo, A. V. (2013). Agonist-induced Ca2+ Sensitization in Smooth Muscle REDUNDANCY OF RHO GUANINE NUCLEOTIDE EXCHANGE FACTORS (RhoGEFs) AND RESPONSE KINETICS, A CAGED COMPOUND STUDY. JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY, 288(47), 34030-34040. doi:10.1074/jbc.M113.514596

Derewenda, U., Artamonov, M., Szukalska, G., Utepbergenov, D., Olekhnovich, N., Parikh, H. I., . . . Derewenda, Z. S. (2013). Identification of quercitrin as an inhibitor of the p90 S6 ribosomal kinase (RSK): structure of its complex with the N-terminal domain of RSK2 at 1.8 Ã resolution. ACTA CRYSTALLOGRAPHICA SECTION D-STRUCTURAL BIOLOGY, 69, 266-275. doi:10.1107/S0907444912045520

Somlyo, A. (2013). Obituary of Richard A. Murphy. JOURNAL OF MUSCLE RESEARCH AND CELL MOTILITY, 34(5-6), 437-439. doi:10.1007/s10974-013-9369-2

Amin, E., Dubey, B. N., Zhang, S. -C., Gremer, L., Dvorsky, R., Moll, J. M., . . . Ahmadian, M. R. (2013). Rho-kinase: regulation, (dys) function, and inhibition. BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY, 394(11), 1399-1410. doi:10.1515/hsz-2013-0181

Artamonov, M., Momotani, K., Utepbergenov, D., Franke, A., Khromov, A., Derewenda, Z. S., & Somlyo, A. V. (2013). The p90 Ribosomal S6 Kinase (RSK) Is a Mediator of Smooth Muscle Contractility. PLOS ONE, 8(3). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0058703


Momotani, K., & Somlyo, A. V. (2012). p63RhoGEF: A New Switch for Gq-Mediated Activation of Smooth Muscle. TRENDS IN CARDIOVASCULAR MEDICINE, 22(5), 122-127. doi:10.1016/j.tcm.2012.07.007

Khromov, A. S., Momotani, K., Jin, L., Artamonov, M. V., Shannon, J., Eto, M., & Somlyo, A. V. (2012). Molecular Mechanism of Telokin-mediated Disinhibition of Myosin Light Chain Phosphatase and cAMP/cGMP-induced Relaxation of Gastrointestinal Smooth Muscle. JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY, 287(25), 20975-20985. doi:10.1074/jbc.M112.341479


Momotani, K., Artamonov, M. V., Utepbergenov, D., Derewenda, U., Derewenda, Z. S., & Somlyo, A. V. (2011). p63RhoGEF Couples Gαq/11-Mediated Signaling to Ca2+ Sensitization of Vascular Smooth Muscle Contractility. CIRCULATION RESEARCH, 109(9), 993-U42. doi:10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.111.248898

Hoofnagle, M. H., Neppl, R. L., Berzin, E. L., Pipes, G. C. T., Olson, E. N., Wamhoff, B. W., . . . Owens, G. K. (2011). Myocardin is differentially required for the development of smooth muscle cells and cardiomyocytes. AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PHYSIOLOGY-HEART AND CIRCULATORY PHYSIOLOGY, 300(5), H1707-H1721. doi:10.1152/ajpheart.01192.2010

Zieba, B. J., Artamonov, M. V., Jin, L., Momotani, K., Ho, R., Franke, A. S., . . . Somlyo, A. V. (2011). The cAMP-responsive Rap1 Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor, Epac, Induces Smooth Muscle Relaxation by Down-regulation of RhoA Activity. JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY, 286(19), 16681-16692. doi:10.1074/jbc.M110.205062

Bielnicki, J. A., Shkumatov, A. V., Derewenda, U., Somlyo, A. V., Svergun, D. I., & Derewenda, Z. S. (2011). Insights into the Molecular Activation Mechanism of the RhoA-specific Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor, PDZRhoGEF. JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY, 286(40), 35163-35175. doi:10.1074/jbc.M111.270918


Jin, L., Gan, Q., Zieba, B. J., Goicoechea, S. M., Owens, G. K., Otey, C. A., & Somlyo, A. V. (2010). The Actin Associated Protein Palladin Is Important for the Early Smooth Muscle Cell Differentiation. PLOS ONE, 5(9). doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0012823

Yoshida, T., Gan, Q., Franke, A. S., Ho, R., Zhang, J., Chen, Y. E., . . . Owens, G. K. (2010). Smooth and Cardiac Muscle-selective Knock-out of Kruppel-like Factor 4 Causes Postnatal Death and Growth Retardation. JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY, 285(27), 21175-21184. doi:10.1074/jbc.M110.112482