Differential involvement of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase kinases MKK3 and MKK6 in T-cell apoptosis

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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences; Program in Molecular Medicine

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Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


The p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38MAPK) is activated in response to various stimuli, including cellular stress, inflammatory cytokines and cell surface receptors. The activation of p38MAPK is predominantly mediated by the two upstream MAPK kinases MKK3 and MKK6. To study the role of the p38MAPK pathway in vivo, we generated Mkk6-/- mice. We examined whether T-cell apoptosis is affected in these mice and in our previously reported Mkk3-/- mice. Strikingly, in vivo deletion of double positive thymocytes in Mkk6-/- mice was impaired, whereas Mkk3-/- mice showed no apparent abnormality. Conversely, CD4(+)T cells from Mkk3-/- but not from Mkk6-/- mice were resistant to activation-induced cell death and cytokine-withdrawal-induced apoptosis. In peripheral CD4(+)T cells, MKK3 is induced upon stimulation, whereas MKK6 is downregulated. These results suggest a novel mechanism regulating T-cell apoptosis differentially through the p38MAPK pathway by MKK3 and MKK6.

DOI of Published Version



EMBO Rep. 2002 Aug;3(8):785-91. Epub 2002 Jul 15. Link to article on publisher's site

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EMBO reports

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