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J Biol Chem. 2003 Oct 24;278(43):42615-24. Epub 2003 Aug 12.

Nuclear export of ERK3 by a CRM1-dependent mechanism regulates its inhibitory action on cell cycle progression.

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  • 1Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal, Université de Montréal, 110 Pine Avenue West, Montréal, Québec H2W 1R7, Canada.


Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 3 (ERK3) is an atypical member of the mitogen-activated protein kinase family of serine/threonine kinases. Little is known on the regulation of ERK3 function. Here, we report that ERK3 is constitutively localized in the cytoplasmic and nuclear compartments. In contrast to other mitogen-activated protein kinases, the cellular distribution of ERK3 remains unchanged in response to common mitogenic or stress stimuli and is independent of the enzymatic activity or phosphorylation of the kinase. The cytoplasmic localization of ERK3 is directed by a CRM1-dependent nuclear export mechanism. Treatment of cells with leptomycin B causes the nuclear accumulation of ERK3 in a high percentage of cells. Moreover, ectopic expression of CRM1 promotes the cytoplasmic relocalization of ERK3, whereas overexpression of snurportin 1, which binds CRM1 with high affinity, inhibits the nuclear export of ERK3. We also show that CRM1 binds to ERK3 in vitro. Importantly, we show that enforced localization of ERK3 in the nucleus or cytoplasm markedly attenuates the ability of the kinase to induce cell cycle arrest in fibroblasts. Our results suggest that nucleocytoplasmic shuttling of ERK3 is required for its negative regulatory effect on cell cycle progression.

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