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J Biol Chem. 1999 Dec 17;274(51):36035-8.

MEKK3 directly regulates MEK5 activity as part of the big mitogen-activated protein kinase 1 (BMK1) signaling pathway.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, California 92037, USA.


Big mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase (BMK1), also known as ERK5, is a member of the MAP kinase family whose cellular activity is elevated in response to growth factors, oxidative stress, and hyperosmolar conditions. Previous studies have identified MEK5 as a cellular kinase directly regulating BMK1 activity; however, signaling molecules that directly regulate MEK5 activity have not yet been defined. Through utilization of a yeast two-hybrid screen, we have identified MEKK3 as a molecule that physically interacts with MEK5. This interaction appears to take place in mammalian cells as evidenced by the fact that cellular MEK5 and MEKK3 co-immunoprecipitate. In addition, we show that a dominant active form of MEKK3 stimulates BMK1 activity through MEK5. Moreover, we demonstrate that MEKK3 activity is required for growth factor mediated cellular activation of endogenous BMK1. Taken together, these results identify MEKK3 as a kinase that regulates the activity of MEK5 and BMK1 during growth factor-induced cellular stimulation.

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