[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have investigated the agonists that activate transfected extracellular signal-regulated kinase 8 (ERK8) in cells, and have found that the most potent activators are hydrogen peroxide, DNA alkylating and cross-linking agents and the poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitor KU-0058948. The feature shared by all these agents is that they lead to the accumulation of single strand breaks in DNA, suggesting a role for ERK8 in the response to, or repair of, DNA single strand breaks. The DNA alkylating agent MMS also induced the disappearance of endogenous ERK8 by a proteasome-dependent mechanism.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Ewing's sarcomas, chromosomal translocations cause the N-terminal domain of the EWS (Ewing's sarcoma protein) to fuse with the DNA-binding domains of the Ets (E26 transformation-specific) family of transcription factors. Here we show that EWS and EWS-Fli1 (Friend leukaemia virus integration 1), the fusion most frequently found in Ewing's sarcomas, become phosphorylated at Thr(79) in response to either mitogens or DNA-damaging agents. The much weaker mitogen-induced phosphorylation of EWS is catalysed by the MAPKs (mitogen-activated protein kinases) ERK1 (extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1) and ERK2, whereas the much stronger phosphorylation of EWS induced by the DNA alkylating agent MMS (methyl methanesulphonate) can be catalysed by JNK (c-Jun N-terminal kinase) and at least one other protein kinase distinct from ERK1/ERK2. In contrast, the phosphorylation of EWS-Fli1 induced by MMS was largely mediated by p38alpha/p38beta MAPKs. MMS induced a much stronger phosphorylation of EWS-Fli1 than EWS in heterodimers comprising both proteins.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The specificities of 65 compounds reported to be relatively specific inhibitors of protein kinases have been profiled against a panel of 70-80 protein kinases. On the basis of this information, the effects of compounds that we have studied in cells and other data in the literature, we recommend the use of the following small-molecule inhibitors: SB 203580/SB202190 and BIRB 0796 to be used in parallel to assess the physiological roles of p38 MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) isoforms, PI-103 and wortmannin to be used in parallel to inhibit phosphatidylinositol (phosphoinositide) 3-kinases, PP1 or PP2 to be used in parallel with Src-I1 (Src inhibitor-1) to inhibit Src family members; PD 184352 or PD 0325901 to inhibit MKK1 (MAPK kinase-1) or MKK1 plus MKK5, Akt-I-1/2 to inhibit the activation of PKB (protein kinase B/Akt), rapamycin to inhibit TORC1 [mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin)-raptor (regulatory associated protein of mTOR) complex], CT 99021 to inhibit GSK3 (glycogen synthase kinase 3), BI-D1870 and SL0101 or FMK (fluoromethylketone) to be used in parallel to inhibit RSK (ribosomal S6 kinase), D4476 to inhibit CK1 (casein kinase 1), VX680 to inhibit Aurora kinases, and roscovitine as a pan-CDK (cyclin-dependent kinase) inhibitor. We have also identified harmine as a potent and specific inhibitor of DYRK1A (dual-specificity tyrosine-phosphorylated and -regulated kinase 1A) in vitro. The results have further emphasized the need for considerable caution in using small-molecule inhibitors of protein kinases to assess the physiological roles of these enzymes. Despite being used widely, many of the compounds that we analysed were too non-specific for useful conclusions to be made, other than to exclude the involvement of particular protein kinases in cellular processes.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ERK8 (extracellular-signal-regulated protein kinase 8) expressed in Escherichia coli or insect cells was catalytically active and phosphorylated at both residues of the Thr-Glu-Tyr motif. Dephosphorylation of the threonine residue by PP2A (protein serine/threonine phosphatase 2A) decreased ERK8 activity by over 95% in vitro, whereas complete dephosphorylation of the tyrosine residue by PTP1B (protein tyrosine phosphatase 1B) decreased activity by only 15-20%. Wild-type ERK8 expressed in HEK-293 cells was over 100-fold less active than the enzyme expressed in bacteria or insect cells, but activity could be increased by exposure to hydrogen peroxide, by incubation with the protein serine/threonine phosphatase inhibitor okadaic acid, or more weakly by osmotic shock. In unstimulated cells, ERK8 was monophosphorylated at Tyr-177, and exposure to hydrogen peroxide induced the appearance of ERK8 that was dually phosphorylated at both Thr-175 and Tyr-177. IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), EGF (epidermal growth factor), PMA or anisomycin had little effect on activity. In HEK-293 cells, phosphorylation of the Thr-Glu-Tyr motif of ERK8 was prevented by Ro 318220, a potent inhibitor of ERK8 in vitro. The catalytically inactive mutants ERK8[D154A] and ERK8[K42A] were not phosphorylated in HEK-293 cells or E. coli, whether or not the cells had been incubated with protein phosphatase inhibitors or exposed to hydrogen peroxide. Our results suggest that the activity of ERK8 in transfected HEK-293 cells depends on the relative rates of ERK8 autophosphorylation and dephosphorylation by one or more members of the PPP family of protein serine/threonine phosphatases. The major residue in myelin basic protein phosphorylated by ERK8 (Ser-126) was distinct from that phosphorylated by ERK2 (Thr-97), demonstrating that, although ERK8 is a proline-directed protein kinase, its specificity is distinct from ERK1/ERK2.