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J Biol Chem. 2001 Jun 29;276(26):23362-72. Epub 2001 Apr 13.

Parallel regulation of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 3 (MKK3) and MKK6 in Gq-signaling cascade.

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Department of Molecular Cell Pharmacology, National Children's Medical Research Center, 3-35-31 Taishido, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 154-1809, the Japan.


Heterotrimeric G protein G(q) stimulates the activity of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in mammalian cells. To investigate the signaling mechanism whereby alpha and betagamma subunits of G(q) activate p38 MAPK, we introduced kinase-deficient mutants of mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 3 (MKK3), MKK4, and MKK6 into human embryonal kidney 293 cells. The activation of p38 MAPK by Galpha(q) and Gbetagamma was blocked by kinase-deficient MKK3 and MKK6 but not by kinase-deficient MKK4. In addition, Galpha(q) and Gbetagamma stimulated MKK3 and MKK6 activities. The MKK3 and MKK6 activations by Galpha(q), but not by Gbetagamma, were dependent on phospholipase C and c-Src. Galpha(q) stimulated MKK3 in a Rac- and Cdc42-dependent manner and MKK6 in a Rho-dependent manner. On the other hand, Gbetagamma activated MKK3 in a Rac- and Cdc42-dependent manner and MKK6 in a Rho-, Rac-, and Cdc42-dependent manner. Gbetagamma-induced MKK3 and MKK6 activations were dependent on a tyrosine kinase other than c-Src. These results suggest that Galpha(q) and Gbetagamma stimulate the activity of p38 MAPK by regulating MKK3 and MKK6 through parallel signaling pathways.

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