Somlyo, Avril V.

Dr. Amlyo

Avril V. Somlyo

Primary Appointment

Professor, Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics

Education

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

Contact Information

Rm 418, Jordan Hall, 1340 Jefferson Park Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22908
Telephone: 434-982-0825
Email: avs5u@virginia.edu
Website: http://www.healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/physio/

Research Interests

Novel signal transduction pathways in smooth muscles that regulate contractility and impact diseases of the vasculature, airway and gastrointestinal tract.

Research Description

Our goal is to identify and characterize the function of molecules participating in signal transduction pathways that modulate contractility of smooth muscle (SM) both in adult tissues and smooth muscle cells that migrate.We continue our long term interests in the basic properties of the contractile apparatus and myosin crossbridges that reflect the special SM phenotype.

Our laboratory was amongst the first to recognize the involvement of the small GTPase RhoA, it?s coupling to G-proteins coupled receptors and its ability to increase myosin regulatory light chain phosphorylation and force through inhibition of myosin phosphatase, and coined the term Ca2+ sensitization. Our current goal is to understand the physiological relevance, structure/function relationships and the mechanism of activation of the many RhoA GTP exchange factors (GEFS) and GTP activating proteins (GAPs) in SM, their crosstalk and their coupling to the plethora of agonists that stimultae SM, through different G-protein coupled receptors. These molecules may serve as more selective targets for therapies.Studies are carried out at the molecular, cellular, tissue and animal level in order to define the physiological or pathophysiological function of the signaling molecules under study.

Ultimately, the search for the basis of hypertension, atherosclerosis and other diseases of the vasculature drive the research.

Selected Publications