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J Biol Chem. 1997 Dec 19;272(51):32378-83.

Activation of stress-activated protein kinases/c-Jun N-terminal protein kinases (SAPKs/JNKs) by a novel mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase.

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  • 1Amgen Inc., Boulder, Colorado 80301, USA.


Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) kinases (MKKs) are dual-specificity protein kinases that phosphorylate and activate MAPK. We have isolated a cDNA encoding a novel protein kinase that has significant homology to MKKs. The novel kinase MKK7 has a nucleotide sequence that encodes an open reading frame of 347 amino acids with 11 kinase subdomains. MKK7 is ubiquitously expressed in all adult and embryonic organs but displays high expression in epithelial tissues at later stages of fetal development. When transiently expressed in 293 cells, MKK7 specifically activated stress-activated protein kinases (SAPKs)/c-Jun N-terminal protein kinases (JNKs) but not extracellular-regulated kinase or p38 kinase. A kinase-negative mutant of MKK7 inhibits interleukin-1beta, lipopolysaccharide, and MEKK1-induced SAPK/JNK activation. Thus, MKK7 is a new member of the MAPK kinase family that functions upstream of SAPK/JNK in the SAPK/JNK signaling pathway.

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