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EMBO J. 1996 Feb 15;15(4):817-26.

Activation of MEK-1 and SEK-1 by Tpl-2 proto-oncoprotein, a novel MAP kinase kinase kinase.

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Division of Cellular Immunology, National Institute of Medical Research, London, UK.


The Tpl-2 protein serine/threonine kinase was originally identified, in a C-terminally deleted form, as the product of an oncogene associated with the progression of Moloney murine leukemia virus-induced T cell lymphomas in rats. The kinase domain of Tpl-2 is homologous to the Saccharomyces cerevisiae gene product, STE11, which encodes a MAP kinase kinase kinase. This suggested that Tpl-2 might have a similar activity. Consistent with this hypothesis, immunoprecipitated Tpl-2 and Tpl-2deltaC (a C-terminally truncated mutant) phosphorylated and activated recombinant fusion proteins of the mammalian MAP kinase kinases, MEK-1 and SEK-1, in vitro. Furthermore, transfection of Tpl-2 into COS-1 cells or Jurkat T cells. markedly activated the MAP kinases, ERK-1 and SAP kinase (JNK), which are substrates for MEK-1 and SEK-1, respectively. Tpl-2, therefore, is a MAP kinase kinase kinase which can activate two MAP kinase pathways. After Raf and Mos, Tpl-2 is the third serine/threonine oncoprotein kinase that has been shown to function as a direct activator of MEK-1.

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