The mixed lineage kinase SPRK phosphorylates and activates the stress-activated protein kinase activator, SEK-1.

The Journal of biological chemistry

PubMedID: 8702571

Rana A, Gallo K, Godowski P, Hirai S, Ohno S, Zon L, Kyriakis JM, Avruch J. The mixed lineage kinase SPRK phosphorylates and activates the stress-activated protein kinase activator, SEK-1. J Biol Chem. 1996;271(32):19025-8.
SPRK (also called PTK-1 and MLK-3), a member of the mixed lineage kinase subfamily of (Ser/Thr) protein kinases, encodes an amino-terminal SH3 domain followed by a kinase catalytic domain, two leucine zippers interrupted by a short spacer, a Rac/Cdc42 binding domain, and a long carboxyl-terminal proline-rich region. We report herein that SPRK activates the stress-activated protein kinases (SAPKs) but not ERK-1 during transient expression in COS cells; the p38 kinase is activated modestly (1.3-2 fold) but consistently. SPRK also activates cotransfected SEK-1/MKK-4, a dual specificity kinase which phosphorylates and activates SAPK. Reciprocally, expression of mutant, inactive SEK-1 inhibits completely the basal and SPRK-activated SAPK activity. Immunoprecipitated recombinant SPRK is able to phosphorylate and activate recombinant SEK-1 in vitro to an extent comparable to that achieved by MEK kinase-1. These results identify SPRK as a candidate upstream activator of the stress-activated protein kinases, acting through the phosphorylation and activation of SEK-1.