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J Biochem. 2004 Aug;136(2):123-6.

Physiological roles of SAPK/JNK signaling pathway.

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Department of Physiological Chemistry, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo, Tokyo.


Stress-activated protein kinase/c-Jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (SAPK/JNK) is activated by many types of cellular stresses and extracellular signals. Recent studies, including the analysis with knockout mice, have led to progress towards understanding the physiological roles of SAPK/JNK activation in embryonic development in addition to immune responses. SAPK/JNK activation plays essential roles in organogenesis during mouse development by regulating cell survival, apoptosis, and proliferation. Two SAPK/JNK activators, SEK1 and MKK7, are required for fetal liver formation and full activation of SAPK/JNK, which responds to various stimuli in an all-or-none manner. This article focuses on physiological roles of SAPK/JNK activation in fetal liver formation and in apoptosis regulation.

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