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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

MEKK2 regulates the coordinate activation of ERK5 and JNK in response to FGF-2 in fibroblasts.

Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) are regulated by MAPK kinases (MKKs), which are in turn regulated by MKK kinases (MKKKs). While a single MKKK can regulate several different MAPK family members, and several MKKKs can often activate the same MAPK, emerging evidence indicates a unique role for individual MKKKs in acting as signaling nodes to coordinately activate different subsets of MAPKs in response to specific cellular stimuli. Thus, while there is much apparent overlap in MAPK regulation by different MKKKs, each MKKK serves a specific purpose in regulation of unique cellular functions. The purpose of this study was to define the specific role of MEKK2, an MKKK, in MAPK regulation and cell function. MEKK2 coordinately activates the ERK5 and JNK pathways. Targeted disruption of MEKK2 expression causes loss of ERK5 and JNK activation in response to FGF-2 in mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). FGF-2 receptor signaling requires MEKK2 for induction of mRNA for c-Jun, Fra-1, and Fra-2, components of the AP-1 transcription complex. In FGF-2-stimulated MEKK2-/- fibroblasts, c-Jun phosphorylation is inhibited, consistent with a loss of JNK activation. Thus, MEKK2 regulates AP-1 activity at two levels, by regulating both expression of AP-1 components and c-Jun N-terminal phosphorylation. One function of the AP-1 transcription complex is to regulate cytokine gene expression. Expression of IL-1alpha, IL-1beta, IL-6, and TNFalpha is inhibited in MEKK2-/- fibroblasts. Bacterial lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and TNFalpha neither activate ERK5 nor require MEKK2 for JNK activation, demonstrating specificity of MEKK2 in FGF-2 receptor signaling and control of cytokine gene expression.[1]


  1. MEKK2 regulates the coordinate activation of ERK5 and JNK in response to FGF-2 in fibroblasts. Kesavan, K., Lobel-Rice, K., Sun, W., Lapadat, R., Webb, S., Johnson, G.L., Garrington, T.P. J. Cell. Physiol. (2004) [Pubmed]
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