c-Jun NH2-terminal protein kinase (JNK) is a mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) involved in the regulation of numerous physiological processes during development and in response to stress. Its activity is increased upon phosphorylation by the MAPK kinases, MKK4 and MKK7. Similar to the early embryonic death of mice caused by the targeted deletion of the jnk genes, mice lacking mkk4 or mkk7 die before birth. The inability of MKK4 and MKK7 to compensate for each other's functions in vivo is consistent with their synergistic effect in mediating JNK activation. However, the phenotypic analysis of the mutant mouse embryos indicates that MKK4 and MKK7 have specific roles that may be due to their selective regulation by extracellular stimuli and their distinct tissue distribution. MKK4 and MKK7 also have different biochemical properties. For example, whereas MKK4 can activate p38 MAPK, MKK7 functions as a specific activator of JNK. Here we summarize the studies that have shed light on the mechanism of activation of MKK4 and MKK7 and on their physiological functions. © 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Biochimica et Biophysica Acta - Molecular Cell Research|
|Publication status||Published - Aug 2007|