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Structure. 2008 May;16(5):798-808. doi: 10.1016/j.str.2008.02.012.

Structure of a NEMO/IKK-associating domain reveals architecture of the interaction site.

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  • 1Biogen Idec Inc., Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


The phosphorylation of IkappaB by the IKK complex targets it for degradation and releases NF-kappaB for translocation into the nucleus to initiate the inflammatory response, cell proliferation, or cell differentiation. The IKK complex is composed of the catalytic IKKalpha/beta kinases and a regulatory protein, NF-kappaB essential modulator (NEMO; IKKgamma). NEMO associates with the unphosphorylated IKK kinase C termini and activates the IKK complex's catalytic activity. However, detailed structural information about the NEMO/IKK interaction is lacking. In this study, we have identified the minimal requirements for NEMO and IKK kinase association using a variety of biophysical techniques and have solved two crystal structures of the minimal NEMO/IKK kinase associating domains. We demonstrate that the NEMO core domain is a dimer that binds two IKK fragments and identify energetic hot spots that can be exploited to inhibit IKK complex formation with a therapeutic agent.

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