Spatiotemporal regulation of ERK2 by dual specificity phosphatases

CJ Caunt, SP Armstrong, CA Rivers, MR Norman, CA McArdle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


Although many stimuli activate extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1 and 2 (ERK1/2), the kinetics and compartmentalization of ERK1/2 signals are stimulus-dependent and dictate physiological consequences. ERKs can be inactivated by dual specificity phosphatases (DUSPs), notably the MAPK phosphatases (MKPs) and atypical DUSPs, that can both dephosphorylate and scaffold ERK1/2. Using a cell imaging model (based on knockdown of endogenous ERKs and add-back of wild-type or mutated ERK2-GFP reporters), we explored possible effects of DUSPs on responses to transient or sustained ERK2 activators (epidermal growth factor and phorbol 12,13-dibutyrate, respectively). For both stimuli, a D319N mutation (which impairs DUSP binding) increased ERK2 activity and reduced nuclear accumulation. These stimuli also increased mRNA levels for eight DUSPs. In a short inhibitory RNA screen, 12 of 16 DUSPs influenced ERK2 responses. These effects were evident among nuclear inducible MKP, cytoplasmic ERK MKP, JNK/p38 MKP, and atypical DUSP subtypes and, with the exception of the nuclear inducible MKPs, were paralleled by corresponding changes in Egr-1 luciferase activation. Simultaneous removal of all JNK/p38 MKPs or nuclear inducible MKPs revealed them as positive and negative regulators of ERK2 signaling, respectively. The effects of JNK/p38 MKP short inhibitory RNAs were not dependent on protein neosynthesis but were reversed in the presence of JNK and p38 kinase inhibitors, indicating DUSP-mediated cross-talk between MAPK pathways. Overall, our data reveal that a large number of DUSPs influence ERK2 signaling. Together with the known tissue-specific expression of DUSPs and the importance of ERK1/2 in cell regulation, our data support the potential value of DUSPs as targets for drug therapy.
Translated title of the contributionSpatiotemporal regulation of ERK2 by dual specificity phosphatases
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26612 - 26623
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2008

Bibliographical note

Author of Publication Reviewed: Caunt CJ, Armstrong SP, Rivers CA, Norman MR, McArdle CA


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