Conditional expression of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphatase MKP-1 preferentially inhibits p38 MAPK and stress-activated protein kinase in U937 cells

C. Christopher Franklin, Andrew S. Kraft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

370 Scopus citations

Abstract

Phorbol ester tumor promoters, such as phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate (PMA), are potent activators of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 2 (ERK2), stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK), and p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) in U937 human leukemic cells. These kinases are regulated by the reversible dual phosphorylation of conserved threonine and tyrosine residues. The dual specificity protein phosphatase MAPK phosphatase- 1 (MKP-1) has been shown to dephosphorylate and inactivate ERK2, SAPK, and p38 MAPK in transient transfection studies. Here we demonstrate that PMA treatment induces MKP-1 protein expression in U937 cells, which is detectable within 30 min with maximal levels attained after 4 h. This time course coincides with the rapid inactivation of PMA-induced SAPK activity, but not ERK2 phosphorylation, which remains elevated for up to 6 h. To examine directly the role of MKP-1 in the regulation of these protein kinases in vivo, we established a U937 cell line that conditionally expresses MKP-1 from the human metallothionein IIa promoter. Conditional expression of MKP-1 inhibited PMA-induced ERK2, SAPK, and p38 MAPK activity. By titrating the levels of MKP-1 expression from the human metallothionein IIa promoter, however, it was found that p38 MAPK and SAPK were much more sensitive to inhibition by MKP-1 than ERK2. This differential substrate specificity of MKP-1 can be functionally extended to nuclear transcriptional events in that PMA-induced c-Jun transcriptional activity was more sensitive to inhibition by MKP-1 than either Elk-1 or c-Myc. Conditional expression of MKP-1 also abolished the induction of endogenous MKP-1 protein expression in response to PMA treatment. This negative feedback regulatory mechanism is likely due to MKP-1-mediated inhibition of ERK2, as studies utilizing the MEK 1/4 inhibitor PD98059 suggest that ERK2 activation is required for PMA-induced MKP-1 expression. These findings suggest that ERK2-mediated induction of MKP-1 may play an important role in preferentially attenuating signaling through the p38 MAPK and SAPK signal transduction pathways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)16917-16923
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Volume272
Issue number27
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 4 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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