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Protein phosphatase with EF-hand domains 2 (PPEF2) is a potent negative regulator of apoptosis signal regulating kinase-1 (ASK1).

Kutuzov M.A., Bennett N., Andreeva A.V.

The function of protein phosphatases with EF-hand domains (PPEF) in mammals is not known. Large-scale expression profiling experiments suggest that PPEF expression may correlate with stress protective responses, cell survival, growth, proliferation, or neoplastic transformation. Apoptosis signal regulating kinase-1 (ASK1) is a MAP kinase kinase kinase implicated in cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases. ASK1 is activated by oxidative stress and induces pro-apoptotic or inflammatory signalling, largely via sustained activation of MAP kinases p38 and/or JNK. We identify human PPEF2 as a novel interacting partner and a negative regulator of ASK1. In COS-7 or HEK 293A cells treated with H(2)O(2), expression of PPEF2 abrogated sustained activation of p38 and one of the JNK p46 isoforms, and prevented ASK1-dependent caspase-3 cleavage and activation. PPEF2 efficiently suppressed H(2)O(2)-induced activation of ASK1. Overexpessed as well as endogenous ASK1 co-immunoprecipitated with PPEF2. PPEF2 was considerably more potent both as a suppressor of ASK1 activation and as its interacting partner as compared to protein phosphatase 5 (PP5), a well-known negative regulator of ASK1. PPEF2 was found to form complexes with endogenous Hsp70 and to a lesser extent Hsp90, which are also known interacting partners of PP5. These data identify, for the first time, a possible downstream signalling partner of a mammalian PPEF phosphatase, and suggest that, despite structural divergence, PPEF and PP5 phosphatases may share common interacting partners and functions.

Int. J. Biochem. Cell Biol. 42:1816-1822(2010) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]