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Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Aug;23(16):5692-705.

The N and C termini of the splice variants of the human mitogen-activated protein kinase-interacting kinase Mnk2 determine activity and localization.

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  • 1Division of Molecular Physiology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom.


The cap-binding eukaryotic initiation factor eIF4E is phosphorylated by the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase-interacting kinases (Mnk's). Three forms of the Mnk's exist in human cells: Mnk1, Mnk2a, and Mnk2b. These last two are derived from the same gene by alternative splicing and differ only at their C termini. While Mnk2a contains a MAP kinase-binding site in this region, Mnk2b lacks such a sequence and is much less readily activated by MAP kinases in vitro. Expression of Mnk2b in mammalian cells leads to increased phosphorylation of eIF4E, showing that it acts as an eIF4E kinase in vivo. While Mnk2a is cytoplasmic, a substantial amount of Mnk2b is found in the nucleus. Both enzymes contain a stretch of basic residues in their N termini that plays a role in binding to eIF4G and functions as a nuclear localization signal. Binding of eIF4G or nuclear import appears to be regulated by the C terminus of Mnk2a. Furthermore, the MAP kinase-binding site of Mnk2a regulates nuclear entry. Within the nucleus, Mnk2b and certain variants of Mnk2a that are present in the nucleus colocalize with the promyelocytic leukemia protein PML, which also binds to eIF4E.

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