ERK1/2 (extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1/2) MAPKs (mitogen-activated protein kinases) are tightly regulated by the cellular microenvironment in which they operate. Mxi2 is a p38α splice isoform capable of binding to ERK1/2 and ensuring their translocation to the nucleus. Therein Mxi2 sustains ERK1/2 phosphorylation levels and, as a consequence, ERK1/2 nuclear signals are enhanced. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this process are still unclear. In the present study, we show that Mxi2 prevents nuclear but not cytoplasmic phosphatases from binding to and dephosphorylating ERK1/2, disclosing an unprecedented mechanism for the spatial regulation of ERK1/2 activation. We also demonstrate that the kinetics of ERK1/2 extranuclear signals can be significantly altered by artificially tethering Mxi2 to the cytoplasm. In this case, Mxi2 abolishes ERK1/2 inactivation by cytoplasmic phosphatases and potentiates ERK1/2 functions at this compartment. These results highlight Mxi2 as a key spatial regulator of ERK1/2 functions, playing a pivotal role in the balance between ERK1/2 nuclear and cytoplasmic signals.
Mxi2 sustains ERK1/2 phosphorylation in the nucleus by preventing ERK1/2 binding to phosphatases
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Berta Casar, Javier Rodríguez, Gilad Gibor, Rony Seger, Piero Crespo; Mxi2 sustains ERK1/2 phosphorylation in the nucleus by preventing ERK1/2 binding to phosphatases. Biochem J 15 January 2012; 441 (2): 571–578. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BJ20110870
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