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Nucleic Acids Res. 1998 Oct 15;26(20):4771-7.

Interaction of myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) with a mitogen-activated protein kinase, ERK5/BMK1.

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Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Myocyte enhancer factor 2 (MEF2) has been implicated in the complex hierarchical regulation of muscle-specific gene expression and differentiation. While the MyoD family members are able to initiate the skeletal muscle differentiation program, whether MEF2 is sufficient in directing skeletal muscle differentiation is still controversial. Furthermore, how MEF2 transactivates its target genes is not fully understood. It has been suggested that the interactions of MEF2 with other factors modify its transcriptional activity. Therefore, the identification of MEF2-interacting factors may be important in understanding the mechanism by which MEF2 activates its target genes. In this study, a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAP kinase), ERK5/BMK1 was found to interact with MEF2 in a yeast two hybrid screen. The interaction was confirmed by a glutathione S -transferase-pull down assay and a co-immunoprecipitation study indicating that endogenous ERK5 and MEF2 interact with each other in vivo . The interacting domain of MEF2 was mapped to the N-terminus which contains the highly conserved MADS and MEF2 domains. Functionally, ERK5/BMK1 was able to phosphorylate MEF2 in vitro . Furthermore, when cotransfected with ERK5/BMK1, the transactivation capacity of MEF2 was enhanced. These results suggest that the functions of MEF2 could be regulated through ERK5/BMK1.

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