Characterization of OSR1, a Member of the Mammalian Ste20p/Germinal Center Kinase Subfamily

Wei Chen, Mustafa Yazicioglu, Melanie H. Cobb

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69 Scopus citations


In examining the protein kinase components of mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase (MAPK) cascades that regulate the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) in Drosophila S2 cells, we previously found that distinct up-stream kinases were involved in responses to sorbitol and lipopolysaccharide. Here we have extended that analysis to the possible MAPK kinase kinase kinases (MAP4Ks) in the JNK pathway. Fray, a putative Drosophila MAP4K, provided a major contribution to JNK activation by sorbitol. To explore the possible link to JNK in mammalian cells, we isolated and characterized OSR1 (oxidative stress-responsive 1), one of two human Fray homologs. OSR1 is a 58-kDa protein of 527 amino acids that is widely expressed in mammalian tissues and cell lines. Of potential regulators surveyed, endogenous OSR1 is activated only by osmotic stresses, notably sorbitol and to a lesser extent NaCl. However, OSR1 did not increase the activity of coexpressed JNK, nor did it activate three other MAPKs, p38, ERK2, and ERK5. A two-hybrid screen implicated another Ste20p family member, the p21-activated protein kinase PAK1, as an OSR1 target. OSR1 phosphorylated threonine 84 in the N-terminal regulatory domain of PAK1. Replacement of threonine 84 with glutamate reduced the activation of PAK1 by an active form of the small G protein Cdc42, suggesting that phosphorylation by OSR1 modulates the G protein sensitivity of PAK isoforms.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11129-11136
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - Mar 19 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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