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BMC Cell Biol. 2006 May 9;7:21.

Pim-1 kinase phosphorylates RUNX family transcription factors and enhances their activity.

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Turku Centre for Biotechnology, University of Turku, Tykistökatu 6 B, 20520 Turku, Finland.



The pim family genes encode oncogenic serine/threonine kinases which in hematopoietic cells have been implicated in cytokine-dependent signaling as well as in lymphomagenesis, especially in cooperation with other oncogenes such as myc, bcl-2 or Runx family genes. The Runx genes encode alpha-subunits of heterodimeric transcription factors which regulate cell proliferation and differentiation in various tissues during development and which can become leukemogenic upon aberrant expression.


Here we have identified novel protein-protein interactions between the Pim-1 kinase and the RUNX family transcription factors. Using the yeast two-hybrid system, we were able to show that the C-terminal part of human RUNX3 associates with Pim-1. This result was confirmed in cell culture, where full-length murine Runx1 and Runx3 both coprecipitated and colocalized with Pim-1. Furthermore, catalytically active Pim-1 kinase was able to phosphorylate Runx1 and Runx3 proteins and enhance the transactivation activity of Runx1 in a dose-dependent fashion.


Altogether, our results suggest that mammalian RUNX family transcription factors are novel binding partners and substrates for the Pim-1 kinase, which may be able to regulate their activities during normal hematopoiesis as well as in leukemogenesis.

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