[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The signaling mechanism by which JNK affects mitochondria is critical to initiate apoptosis. Here we show that the absence of JNK provides a partial resistance to the toxic effect of the heavy metal cadmium. Both wild type and jnk-/- fibroblasts undergoing death exhibit cytosolic cytochrome c but, unlike wild type cells, the JNK-deficient fibroblasts do not display increased caspase activity and DNA fragmentation. The absence of apoptotic death correlates with a specific defect in activation of Bax. We conclude that JNK-dependent regulation of Bax is essential to mediate the apoptotic release of cytochrome c regardless of Bid and Bim activation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To further understand how the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathways regulate AP-1 activity, we have elucidated the physiological role of these cascades in the regulation of c-jun gene expression. c-Jun is a crucial component of AP-1 complexes and has been shown in vitro to be a point of integration of numerous signals that can differentially affect its expression as well as its transcriptional activity. Our strategy was based on the use of (i) genetically modified fibroblasts deficient in components of the MAPK cascades and (ii) pharmacological reagents. The results demonstrate that c-Jun NH(2)-terminal protein kinase (JNK) is essential for a basal level of c-Jun expression and for c-Jun phosphorylation in response to stress. In addition to JNK, p38 MAPK or ERK1/2 and ERK5 are required for mediating UV radiation- or epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced c-Jun expression, respectively. Further studies indicate that p38 MAPK inhibits the activation of JNK in response to EGF, causing a down-regulation of c-Jun. Overall, these data provide important insights into the mechanisms that ultimately determine the function of c-Jun as a regulator of cell fate.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 06/2005; 25(9):3784-92. · 5.37 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To elucidate the physiological significance of MEK5 in vivo, we have examined the effect of mek5 gene elimination in mice. Heterozygous mice appear to be healthy and were fertile. However, mek5(-/-) embryos die at approximately embryonic day 10.5 (E10.5). The phenotype of the mek5(-/-) embryos includes abnormal cardiac development as well as a marked decrease in proliferation and an increase in apoptosis in the heart, head, and dorsal regions of the mutant embryos. The absence of MEK5 does not affect cell cycle progression but sensitizes mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) to the ability of sorbitol to enhance caspase 3 activity. Further studies with mek5(-/-) MEFs indicate that MEK5 is required for mediating extracellular signal-regulated kinase 5 (ERK5) activation and for the regulation of the transcriptional activity of myocyte enhancer factor 2. Overall, this is the first study to rigorously establish the role of MEK5 in vivo as an activator of ERK5 and as an essential regulator of cell survival that is required for normal embryonic development.
Molecular and Cellular Biology 02/2005; 25(1):336-45. · 5.37 Impact Factor