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Circ Res. 2008 Apr 11;102(7):840-8. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.107.168153. Epub 2008 Feb 21.

AIP1 recruits phosphatase PP2A to ASK1 in tumor necrosis factor-induced ASK1-JNK activation.

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Vascular Biology and Therapeutics Program and Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, 10 Amistad St, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


Previously we have shown that AIP1 (apoptosis signal-regulating kinase [ASK]1-interacting protein 1), a novel member of the Ras-GAP protein family, facilitates dephosphorylation of ASK1 at pSer967 and subsequently 14-3-3 release from ASK1, leading to enhanced ASK1-JNK signaling. However, the phosphatase(s) responsible for ASK1 dephosphorylation at pSer967 has not been identified. In the present study, we identified protein phosphatase (PP)2A as a potential phosphatase in vascular endothelial cells (ECs). Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-induced dephosphorylation of ASK1 pSer967 in ECs was blocked by PP2A inhibitor okadaic acid. Overexpression of PP2A catalytic subunit induced dephosphorylation of ASK1 pSer967 and activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK). In contrast, a catalytic inactive form of PP2A or PP2A small interfering RNA blunted TNF-induced dephosphorylation of ASK1 pSer967 and activation of JNK without effects on NF-kappaB activation. Whereas AIP1, via its C2 domain, binds to ASK1, PP2A binds to the GAP domain of AIP1. Endogenous AIP1-PP2A complex can be detected in the resting state, and TNF induces a complex formation of AIP1-PP2A with ASK1. Furthermore, TNF-induced association of PP2A with ASK1 was diminished in AIP1-knockdown ECs, suggesting a critical role of AIP1 in recruiting PP2A to ASK1. TNF-signaling molecules TRAF2 and RIP1, known to be in complex with AIP1 and activate AIP1 by phosphorylating AIP1 at Ser604, are critical for TNF-induced ASK1 dephosphorylation. Finally, PP2A and AIP1 cooperatively induce activation of ASK1-JNK signaling and EC apoptosis, as demonstrated by both overexpression and small interfering RNA knockdown approaches. Taken together, our data support a critical role of PP2A-AIP1 complex in TNF-induced activation of ASK1-JNK apoptotic signaling.

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