We have identified a novel c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)-interacting protein, Sab, by yeast two-hybrid screening. Sab binds to and serves as a substrate for JNK in vitro, and was previously found to interact with the Src homology 3 (SH3) domain of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (Btk). Inspection of the sequence of Sab reveals the presence of two putative mitogen-activated protein kinase interaction motifs (KIMs) similar to that found in the JNK docking domain of the c-Jun transcription factor, and four potential serine—proline JNK phosphorylation sites in the C-terminal half of the molecule. Using deletion and site-directed mutagenesis, we demonstrate that the most N-terminal KIM in Sab is essential for JNK binding, and that, as with c-Jun, physical interaction with JNK is necessary for Sab phosphorylation. Interestingly, confocal immunocytochemistry and cell fractionation studies indicate that Sab is associated with mitochondria, where it co-localizes with a fraction of active JNK. These and previously reported properties of Sab suggest a possible role in targeting JNK to this subcellular compartment and/or mediating cross-talk between the Btk and JNK signal transduction pathways.

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