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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Aug 8;307(4):870-6.

ASK1 regulates influenza virus infection-induced apoptotic cell death.

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  • 1First Department of Internal Medicine, Nihon University School of Medicine, 30-1 Oyaguchikamimachi, Itabashi-ku, Tokyo 173-8610, Japan.


Apoptosis occurs in influenza virus (IV)-infected cells. There are a number of mechanisms for the regulation of apoptosis. However, the molecular mechanism of IV infection-induced apoptosis is still controversial. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase1 (ASK1) is a ubiquitously expressed mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK) that activates the SEK1-c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and MKK3/MKK6-p38 MAPK signaling cascades. ASK1 has been implicated in cytokine- and stress-induced apoptosis. Here, we show the following: (1) IV infection activated ASK1 and concomitantly phosphorylated JNK and p38 MAPK in human bronchial epithelial cells; (2) the activation of JNK and p38 MAPK but not extracellular-regulated kinase (ERK) in embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs) derived from ASK1 knockout mice (ASK1(-/-) MEFs) was depressed compared to MEFs derived from wild type mice (ASK1(+/+) MEFs); and (3) ASK1(-/-) MEFs were defective in IV infection-induced caspase-3 activation and cell death. These results indicate that apoptosis in IV-infected BEC is mediated through ASK1-dependent cascades.

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