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Sci Signal. 2008 Nov 25;1(47):ra14. doi: 10.1126/scisignal.1161938.

Identification of ROCK1 as an upstream activator of the JIP-3 to JNK signaling axis in response to UVB damage.

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  • 1Cutaneous Biology Research Center, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.


Although apoptosis triggered by ultraviolet B (UVB)-mediated activation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway is mediated by both intrinsic and extrinsic pathways, the mechanism of initiation of JNK activation remains obscure. Here, we report the characterization of the JNK-interacting protein 3 (JIP-3) scaffolding protein as an interacting partner of Rho-associated kinase 1 (ROCK1), as determined by tandem affinity protein purification. Upon UVB-induced stress in keratinocytes, ROCK1 was activated, bound to JIP-3, and activated the JNK pathway. Moreover, phosphorylation of JIP-3 by ROCK1 was crucial for the recruitment of JNK. Inhibition of the activity of ROCK1 in keratinocytes resulted in decreased activation of the JNK pathway and thus a reduction in apoptosis. ROCK1(+/-) mice exhibited decreased UVB-mediated activation of JNK and apoptosis relative to wild-type mice. Our findings present a new molecular mechanism by which ROCK1 functions as a UVB sensor that regulates apoptosis, an important event in the prevention of skin cancer.

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