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Curr Biol. 1997 Nov 1;7(11):893-6.

A role for JNK/SAPK in proliferation, but not apoptosis, of IL-3-dependent cells.

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CRC Centre for Cell and Molecular Biology, The Institute of Cancer Research, Chester Beatty Laboratories, London, UK.


Activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase/stress-activated protein kinase (JNK/SAPK) has been implicated in the induction of apoptosis in a variety of systems [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8]. BAF3 cells are pre-B cells that undergo apoptosis following IL-3 withdrawal or ceramide treatment [9] [10]. JNK/SAPK in BAF3 cells is stimulated by ceramide and also during cell proliferation in response to IL-3 [11], but its role in the apoptotic response is not clear. We have devised a method of selectively inhibiting JNK/SAPK activity using a dual-specificity threonine/tyrosine phosphatase, M3/6. Expression of this phosphatase in BAF3 cells prevented ceramide stimulation of JNK/SAPK activity but did not affect apoptosis following IL-3 withdrawal or ceramide treatment. IL-3-stimulated proliferation of BAF3 cells expressing the phosphatase was, however, inhibited. Hence JNK/SAPK activation is likely to be involved in the proliferative response of these cells but is not required for apoptosis. Selective ablation by dual-specificity phosphatases should be a general method for determining the functions of specific mitogen-activated kinase pathways.

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