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J Biol Chem. 2008 Jul 11;283(28):19245-54. doi: 10.1074/jbc.M800943200. Epub 2008 May 2.

TAB4 stimulates TAK1-TAB1 phosphorylation and binds polyubiquitin to direct signaling to NF-kappaB.

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  • 1Center for Cell Signaling and Department of Microbiology, University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, Virginia 22908, USA.


Responses to transforming growth factor beta and multiple cytokines involve activation of transforming growth factor beta-activated kinase-1 (TAK1) kinase, which activates kinases IkappaB kinase (IKK) and MKK3/6, leading to the parallel activation of NF-kappaB and p38 MAPK. Activation of TAK1 by autophosphorylation is known to involve three different TAK1-binding proteins (TABs). Here we report a protein phosphatase subunit known as type 2A phosphatase-interacting protein (TIP) that also acts as a TAB because it co-precipitates with and directly binds to TAK1, enhances TAK1 autophosphorylation at unique sites, and promotes TAK1 phosphorylation of IKKbeta and signaling to NF-kappaB. Mass spectrometry demonstrated that co-expression of TAB4 protein significantly increased phosphorylation of four sites in TAK1, in a linker region between the kinase and TAB2/3 binding domains, and two sites in TAB1. Recombinant GST-TAB4 bound in an overlay assay directly to inactive TAK1 and activated TAK1 but not TAK1 phosphorylated in the linker sites, suggesting a bind and release mechanism. In kinase assays using TAK1 immune complexes, added GST-TAB4 selectively stimulated IKK phosphorylation. TAB4 co-precipitated polyubiquitinated proteins dependent on a Phe-Pro motif that was required to enhance phosphorylation of TAK1. TAB4 mutated at Phe-Pro dominantly interfered with IL-1beta activation of NF-kappaB involving IKK-dependent but not p38 MAPK-dependent signaling. The results show that TAB4 binds TAK1 and polyubiquitin chains to promote specific sites of phosphorylation in TAK1-TAB1, which activates IKK signaling to NF-kappaB.

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