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J Biol Chem. 1995 Dec 1;270(48):28897-902.

Isolation of MEK5 and differential expression of alternatively spliced forms.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235-9041, USA.


The prototype mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase module is a three-kinase cascade consisting of the MAP kinase, extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (ERK) 1 or ERK2, the MAP/ERK kinase (MEK) MEK1 or MEK2, and the MEK kinase, Raf-1 or B-Raf. This and other MAP kinase modules are thought to be critical signal transducers in major cellular events including proliferation, differentiation, and stress responses. To identify novel mammalian MAP kinase modules, polymerase chain reaction was used to isolate a new MEK family member, MEK5, from the rat. MEK5 is more closely related to MEK1 and MEK2 than to the other known mammalian MEKs, MKK3 and MKK4. MEK5 is thought to lie in an uncharacterized MAP kinase pathway, because MEK5 does not phosphorylate the ERK/MAP kinase family members ERK1, ERK2, ERK3, JNK/SAPK, or p38/HOG1, nor will Raf-1, c-Mos, or MEKK1 highly phosphorylate it. Alternative splicing results in a 50-kDa alpha and a 40-kDa beta isoform of MEK5. MEK5 beta is ubiquitously distributed and primarily cytosolic. MEK5 alpha is expressed most highly in liver and brain and is particulate. The 23 amino acids encoded by the 5' exon in the larger alpha isoform are similar to a sequence found in certain proteins believed to associate with the actin cytoskeleton; this alternatively spliced modular domain may lead to the differential subcellular localization of MEK5 alpha.

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