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J Biol Chem. 1992 Aug 25;267(24):17001-5.

Affinity-purified c-Jun amino-terminal protein kinase requires serine/threonine phosphorylation for activity.

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Division of Hematology/Oncology, University of Alabama, Birmingham 35294.


The addition of phorbol esters to U937 leukemic cells stimulates the phosphorylation of c-Jun on serines 63 and 73. To isolate the protein kinase which stimulates this phosphorylation, we have used heparin-Sepharose chromatography followed by affinity chromatography over glutathione-Sepharose beads bound with a fusion protein of glutathione S-transferase and amino acids 5-89 of c-Jun (GST-c-Jun). Using this procedure we purify a 67-kDa protein which is capable of phosphorylating GST-c-Jun as well as the complete c-Jun protein. By making mutations in serines 63 and 73 and then creating a fusion protein with GST (GST-c-Jun mut), we demonstrate that this protein kinase specifically phosphorylates these sites in the c-Jun amino terminus. Treatment of purified c-Jun amino-terminal protein kinase (cJAT-PK) with phosphatase 2A inhibits its ability to phosphorylate GST-c-Jun. This inactivated enzyme can be reactivated by phosphorylation with protein kinase C (PKC), although PKC is not capable of phosphorylating the GST-c-Jun substrate. Because v-Jun cannot be phosphorylated in vivo, we compared the ability of cJAT-PK to bind to GST-v-Jun or GST-c-Jun mut. The cJAT-PK bound 50-fold better to GST-c-Jun mut than GST-v-Jun suggesting that the delta domain which is missing in v-Jun plays a role in binding the cJAT-PK. These results suggest that there is a protein kinase cascade mediated by protein phosphatases and PKC which regulates c-Jun phosphorylation.

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