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      Signal transduction by the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) — from inflammation to development

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      Current Opinion in Cell Biology

      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          The c-Jun amino-terminal kinase (JNK) group of MAP kinases has been identified in mammals and insects. JNK is activated by exposure of cells to cytokines or environmental stress, indicating that this signaling pathway may contribute to inflammatory responses. Genetic and biochemical studies demonstrate that this signaling pathway also regulates cellular proliferation, apoptosis, and tissue morphogenesis. A functional role for JNK is therefore established in both the cellular response to stress and in many normal physiological processes.

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          Opposing effects of ERK and JNK-p38 MAP kinases on apoptosis.

          Apoptosis plays an important role during neuronal development, and defects in apoptosis may underlie various neurodegenerative disorders. To characterize molecular mechanisms that regulate neuronal apoptosis, the contributions to cell death of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase family members, including ERK (extracellular signal-regulated kinase), JNK (c-JUN NH2-terminal protein kinase), and p38, were examined after withdrawal of nerve growth factor (NGF) from rat PC-12 pheochromocytoma cells. NGF withdrawal led to sustained activation of the JNK and p38 enzymes and inhibition of ERKs. The effects of dominant-interfering or constitutively activated forms of various components of the JNK-p38 and ERK signaling pathways demonstrated that activation of JNK and p38 and concurrent inhibition of ERK are critical for induction of apoptosis in these cells. Therefore, the dynamic balance between growth factor-activated ERK and stress-activated JNK-p38 pathways may be important in determining whether a cell survives or undergoes apoptosis.
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            Induction of apoptosis by ASK1, a mammalian MAPKKK that activates SAPK/JNK and p38 signaling pathways.

            Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase cascades are activated in response to various extracellular stimuli, including growth factors and environmental stresses. A MAP kinase kinase kinase (MAPKKK), termed ASK1, was identified that activated two different subgroups of MAP kinase kinases (MAPKK), SEK1 (or MKK4) and MKK3/MAPKK6 (or MKK6), which in turn activated stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK, also known as JNK; c-Jun amino-terminal kinase) and p38 subgroups of MAP kinases, respectively. Overexpression of ASK1 induced apoptotic cell death, and ASK1 was activated in cells treated with tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha). Moreover, TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis was inhibited by a catalytically inactive form of ASK1. ASK1 may be a key element in the mechanism of stress- and cytokine-induced apoptosis.
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              Requirement for ceramide-initiated SAPK/JNK signalling in stress-induced apoptosis.

              The induction of programmed cell death, or apoptosis, involves activation of a signalling system, many elements of which remain unknown. The sphingomyelin pathway, initiated by hydrolysis of the phospholipid sphingomyelin in the cell membrane to generate the second messenger ceramide, is thought to mediate apoptosis in response to tumour-necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, to Fas ligand and to X-rays. It is not known whether it plays a role in the stimulation of other forms of stress-induced apoptosis. Given that environmental stresses also stimulate a stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK/JNK), the sphingomyelin and SAPK/JNK signalling systems may be coordinated in induction of apoptosis. Here we report that ceramide initiates apoptosis through the SAPK cascade and provide evidence for a signalling mechanism that integrates cytokine- and stress-activated apoptosis.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Current Opinion in Cell Biology
                Current Opinion in Cell Biology
                Elsevier BV
                09550674
                April 1998
                April 1998
                : 10
                : 2
                : 205-219
                Article
                10.1016/S0955-0674(98)80143-9
                9561845
                © 1998

                https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

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