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Mol Cell Biol Res Commun. 2001 Nov;4(6):337-44.

Isolation and characterization of pmk-(1-3): three p38 homologs in Caenorhabditis elegans.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


p38, a member of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) superfamily, is activated in response to a variety of cellular stresses and ligands. Since the genome of the nematode C. elegans has been sequenced, we sought to identify and characterize the nematode homolog of mammalian p38. By sequence analysis and RT-PCR, we isolated cDNAs encoding three kinases, PMK-1, PMK-2, and PMK-3, which we call p38 map kinases due to their high sequence identity with p38. The three genes are contiguous on chromosome IV and comprise an operon. By use of a GFP reporter, we found that the promoter of the pmks is active throughout the intestine. An active form of MAPK/ERK kinase 6 (MEK6) phosphorylated and activated recombinant PMK-1 and PMK-2 in vitro. PMK-1 and PMK-2 phosphorylated activating transcription factor-2 (ATF-2), indicating an activity similar to mammalian p38. When transfected into mammalian cells, these kinases, like p38, are stimulated by osmotic stresses.

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