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Involvement of the MKK6-p38gamma cascade in gamma-radiation-induced cell cycle arrest.

Wang X., McGowan C.H., Zhao M., He L., Downey J.S., Fearns C., Wang Y., Huang S., Han J.

The p38 group of kinases belongs to the mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase superfamily with structural and functional characteristics distinguishable from those of the ERK, JNK (SAPK), and BMK (ERK5) kinases. Although there is a high degree of similarity among members of the p38 group in terms of structure and activation, each member appears to have a unique function. Here we show that activation of p38gamma (also known as ERK6 or SAPK3), but not the other p38 isoforms, is required for gamma-irradiation-induced G(2) arrest. Activation of the MKK6-p38gamma cascade is sufficient to induce G(2) arrest in cells, and expression of dominant negative alleles of MKK6 or p38gamma allows cells to escape the DNA damage-induce G(2) delay. Activation of p38gamma is dependent on ATM and leads to activation of Cds1 (also known as Chk2). These data suggest a model in which activation of ATM by gamma irradiation leads to the activation of MKK6, p38gamma, and Cds1 and that activation of both MKK6 and p38gamma is essential for the proper regulation of the G(2) checkpoint in mammalian cells.

Mol. Cell. Biol. 20:4543-4552(2000) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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