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J Biol Chem. 1997 Jun 6;272(23):15023-7.

T cell proliferation in response to interleukins 2 and 7 requires p38MAP kinase activation.

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  • 1The Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology, 1 Aspenlea Road, Hammersmith, London W6 8LH, United Kingdom.


Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a potent T cell mitogen. However, the signaling pathways by which IL-2 mediates its mitogenic effect are not fully understood. One of the members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) family, p42/44MAPK (ERK2/1), is known to be activated by IL-2. We have now investigated the response to IL-2 of two other members of the MAP kinase family, p54MAP kinase (stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK)/Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK)) and p38MAP kinase (p38/Mpk2/CSBP/RK), which respond primarily to stressful and inflammatory stimuli (e.g. tumor necrosis factor-alpha, IL-1, and lipopolysaccharide). Here we show that IL-2, and another T cell growth factor, IL-7, activate both SAPK/JNK and p38MAP kinase. Furthermore, inhibition of p38MAP kinase activity with a specific pyrinidyl imidazole inhibitor SB203580 that prevents activation of its downstream effector, MAPK-activating protein kinase-2, correlated with suppression of IL-2- and IL-7-driven T cell proliferation. These data indicate that in T cells p38MAP kinase has a role in transducing the mitogenic signal.

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