Mitogen-activated protein kinase phosphatases inactivate stress- activated protein kinase pathways in vivo

Dale D. Hirsch, Philip J.S. Stork

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


The c-Jun N-terminal protein kinases (JNKs), also called stress- activated protein kinases, are members of the growing family of serine/threonine kinases in the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase superfamily. Like other MAP kinases, JNKs are activated via phosphorylation on adjacent threonine and tyrosine residues and can be inactivated by a unique family of dual specificity phosphatases, called MAP kinase phosphatases (MKPs). MKPs are encoded by immediate early genes and induced in response to environmental stressors and growth factor stimulation. Two prevalent isoforms of MKP, MKP1 and MKP2, are co-expressed in a wide variety of cell types. In this study, we examined the actions of MKP1 and MKP2 on JNK1 and JNK2. JNK1 phosphorylation and activation was inhibited by expression of both MKP1 and MKP2, although MKP1 selectivity toward JNK1 appeared significantly higher than that of MKP2. In contrast, JNK2 activity was inhibited by either phosphatase to similar degrees. Both MKP1 and MKP2 were highly effective at blocking the activation of the physiological target of JNK activation, the transcription factor c-Jun. In PC12 cells, MKP1 and MKP2 are transcriptionally induced following stimulation by nerve growth factor. In these cells, UV light-evoked JNK activation was reduced by pretreatment with nerve growth factor. Therefore, JNKs may be selective targets of MKP action in certain cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4568-4575
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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