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J Biol Chem. 2006 Jun 16;281(24):16821-32. Epub 2006 Apr 18.

ERK8 down-regulates transactivation of the glucocorticoid receptor through Hic-5.

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Department of Pediatrics, University of Chicago, 5841 S. Maryland Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637-1470, USA.


Extracellular signal-regulated kinase 8 (ERK8) is the most recently identified member of the ERK subfamily of MAPKs. Although other members of the ERK subfamily are established regulators of signaling pathways involved in cell growth and/or differentiation, less is known about ERK8. To understand the cellular function of ERK8, a yeast two-hybrid screen of a human lung library was performed to identify binding partners. One binding partner identified was Hic-5 (also known as ARA55), a multiple LIM domain containing protein implicated in focal adhesion signaling and the regulation of specific nuclear receptors, including the androgen receptor and the glucocorticoid receptor (GR). Co-immunoprecipitation experiments in mammalian cells confirmed the interaction between Hic-5 and both ERK8 and its rodent ortholog ERK7. The C-terminal region of ERK8 was not required for the interaction. Although the LIM3 and LIM4 domains of Hic-5 were sufficient and required for this interaction, the specific zinc finger motifs in these domains were not. Transcriptional activation reporter assays revealed that ERK8 can negatively regulate transcriptional co-activation of androgen receptor and GRalpha by Hic-5 in a kinase-independent manner. Knockdown of endogenous ERK8 in human airway epithelial cells enhanced dexamethasone-stimulated transcriptional activity of endogenous GR. Transcriptional regulation of GRalpha and interaction with its ligand binding domain by ERK8 were dependent on the presence of Hic-5. These results provide the first physiological function for human ERK8 as a negative regulator of human GRalpha, acting through Hic-5, and suggest a broader role for ERK8 in the regulation of nuclear receptors beyond estrogen receptor alpha.

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