MEKK1 interacts with α-actinin and localizes to stress fibers and focal adhesion

Lori B. Christerson, Colleen A. Vanderbilt, Melanie H. Cobb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinases the effects of many extracellular stimuli on cells. The serine/threonine protein kinase MEKK1 is an upstream activator of the MAP kinases c-Jun N-terminal kinase/stress- activated protein kinase (JNK/SAPK), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), and p 38 as well as NF-κB. In a yeast two-hybrid interaction screen to identify proteins that bind to an N-terminal fragment of MEKK1 (amino acids 1-719), the actin-crosslinking protein α-actinin was identified as a MEKK1-binding protein. Over-expressed MEKK1 co-immunoprecipitated with α- actinin in cell lysates. Both endogenous and over-expressed MEKK1 colocalized with α-actinin along actin stress fibers and at focal adhesions. Residues 221-559 of MEKK1 bound to purified α-actinin in vitro, indicating that the interaction is direct, and this fragment localized to actin filaments in cells. MEKK1 kinase activity was not required for association with actin filaments, because a catalytically inactive mutant of MEKK1 (MEKK1 D1369A) localized to stress fibers. These results provide strong evidence for the interaction between MEKK1 and α-actinin. Thus, restriction of the kinase to the actin cytoskeleton may serve to regulate its specificity towards downstream targets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-198
Number of pages13
JournalCell Motility and the Cytoskeleton
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1999


  • Cytoskeleton
  • Focal adhesions
  • Kinase
  • MEKK1
  • α-actinin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Cell Biology


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