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Science. 2000 May 5;288(5467):870-4.

Requirement of JNK for stress-induced activation of the cytochrome c-mediated death pathway.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Program in Molecular Medicine, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA 01605, USA.


The c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) is activated when cells are exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. However, the functional consequence of JNK activation in UV-irradiated cells has not been established. It is shown here that JNK is required for UV-induced apoptosis in primary murine embryonic fibroblasts. Fibroblasts with simultaneous targeted disruptions of all the functional Jnk genes were protected against UV-stimulated apoptosis. The absence of JNK caused a defect in the mitochondrial death signaling pathway, including the failure to release cytochrome c. These data indicate that mitochondria are influenced by proapoptotic signal transduction through the JNK pathway.

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