Pivotal Role of Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase-Activated Protein Kinase 2 in Inflammatory Pulmonary Diseases.
ABSTRACT: Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-activated protein kinase (MK2) is exclusively regulated by p38 MAPK in vivo. Upon activation of p38 MAPK, MK2 binds with p38 MAPK, leading to phosphorylation of TTP, Hsp27, Akt, and Cdc25 that are involved in regulation of various essential cellular functions. In this review, we discuss current knowledge about molecular mechanisms of MK2 in regulation of TNF-? production, NADPH oxidase activation, neutrophil migration, and DNA-damage-induced cell cycle arrest which are involved in the molecular pathogenesis of acute lung injury, pulmonary fibrosis, and non-small-cell lung cancer. Collectively current and emerging new information indicate that developing MK2 inhibitors and blocking MK2-mediated signal pathways are potential therapeutic strategies for treatment of inflammatory and fibrotic lung diseases and lung cancer.
Project description:The p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway, acting through the downstream kinase MK2, regulates the stability of many proinflammatory mRNAs that contain adenosine/uridine-rich elements (AREs). It is thought to do this by modulating the expression or activity of ARE-binding proteins that regulate mRNA turnover. MK2 phosphorylates the ARE-binding and mRNA-destabilizing protein tristetraprolin (TTP) at serines 52 and 178. Here we show that the p38 MAPK pathway regulates the subcellular localization and stability of TTP protein. A p38 MAPK inhibitor causes rapid dephosphorylation of TTP, relocalization from the cytoplasm to the nucleus, and degradation by the 20S/26S proteasome. Hence, continuous activity of the p38 MAPK pathway is required to maintain the phosphorylation status, cytoplasmic localization, and stability of TTP protein. The regulation of both subcellular localization and protein stability is dependent on MK2 and on the integrity of serines 52 and 178. Furthermore, the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway synergizes with the p38 MAPK pathway to regulate both stability and localization of TTP. This effect is independent of kinases that are known to be synergistically activated by ERK and p38 MAPK. We present a model for the actions of TTP and the p38 MAPK pathway during distinct phases of the inflammatory response.
Project description:Tristetraprolin (TTP) directs its target AU-rich element (ARE)-containing mRNAs for degradation by promoting removal of the poly(A) tail. The p38 MAPK pathway regulates mRNA stability via the downstream kinase MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 (MAPKAP kinase 2 or MK2), which phosphorylates and prevents the mRNA-destabilizing function of TTP. We show that deadenylation of endogenous ARE-containing tumor necrosis factor mRNA is inhibited by p38 MAPK. To investigate whether phosphorylation of TTP by MK2 regulates TTP-directed deadenylation of ARE-containing mRNAs, we used a cell-free assay that reconstitutes the mechanism in vitro. We find that phosphorylation of Ser-52 and Ser-178 of TTP by MK2 results in inhibition of TTP-directed deadenylation of ARE-containing RNA. The use of 14-3-3 protein antagonists showed that regulation of TTP-directed deadenylation by MK2 is independent of 14-3-3 binding to TTP. To investigate the mechanism whereby TTP promotes deadenylation, it was necessary to identify the deadenylases involved. The carbon catabolite repressor protein (CCR)4.CCR4-associated factor (CAF)1 complex was identified as the major source of deadenylase activity in HeLa cells responsible for TTP-directed deadenylation. CAF1a and CAF1b were found to interact with TTP in an RNA-independent fashion. We find that MK2 phosphorylation reduces the ability of TTP to promote deadenylation by inhibiting the recruitment of CAF1 deadenylase in a mechanism that does not involve sequestration of TTP by 14-3-3. Cyclooxygenase-2 mRNA stability is increased in CAF1-depleted cells in which it is no longer p38 MAPK/MK2-regulated.
Project description:Cancer and the immune system share an intimate relationship. Chronic inflammation increases the risk of cancer occurrence and can also drive inflammatory mediators into the tumor microenvironment enhancing tumor growth and survival. The p38 MAPK pathway is activated both acutely and chronically by stress, inflammatory chemokines, chronic inflammatory conditions, and cancer. These properties have led to extensive efforts to find effective drugs targeting p38, which have been unsuccessful. The immediate downstream serine/threonine kinase and substrate of p38 MAPK, mitogen-activated-protein-kinase-activated-protein-kinase-2 (MK2) protects cells against stressors by regulating the DNA damage response, transcription, protein and messenger RNA stability, and motility. The phosphorylation of downstream substrates by MK2 increases inflammatory cytokine production, drives an immune response, and contributes to wound healing. By binding directly to p38 MAPK, MK2 is responsible for the export of p38 MAPK from the nucleus which gives MK2 properties that make it unique among the large number of p38 MAPK substrates. Many of the substrates of both p38 MAPK and MK2 are separated between the cytosol and nucleus and interfering with MK2 and altering this intracellular translocation has implications for the actions of both p38 MAPK and MK2. The inhibition of MK2 has shown promise in combination with both chemotherapy and radiotherapy as a method for controlling cancer growth and metastasis in a variety of cancers. Whereas the current data are encouraging the field requires the development of selective and well tolerated drugs to target MK2 and a better understanding of its effects for effective clinical use.
Project description:The IL-1? induced activation of the p38<sup>MAPK</sup>/MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 (MK2) pathway in hepatocytes is important for control of the acute phase response and regulation of liver regeneration. Many aspects of the regulatory relevance of this pathway have been investigated in immune cells in the context of inflammation. However, very little is known about concentration-dependent activation kinetics and signal propagation in hepatocytes and the role of MK2. We established a mathematical model for IL-1?-induced activation of the p38<sup>MAPK</sup>/MK2 pathway in hepatocytes that was calibrated to quantitative data on time- and IL-1? concentration-dependent phosphorylation of p38<sup>MAPK</sup> and MK2 in primary mouse hepatocytes. This analysis showed that, in hepatocytes, signal transduction from IL-1? via p38<sup>MAPK</sup> to MK2 is characterized by strong signal amplification. Quantification of p38<sup>MAPK</sup> and MK2 revealed that, in hepatocytes, at maximum, 11.3% of p38<sup>MAPK</sup> molecules and 36.5% of MK2 molecules are activated in response to IL-1?. The mathematical model was experimentally validated by employing phosphatase inhibitors and the p38<sup>MAPK</sup> inhibitor SB203580. Model simulations predicted an IC<sub>50</sub> of 1-1.2 ?m for SB203580 in hepatocytes. <i>In silico</i> analyses and experimental validation demonstrated that the kinase activity of p38<sup>MAPK</sup> determines signal amplitude, whereas phosphatase activity affects both signal amplitude and duration. p38<sup>MAPK</sup> and MK2 concentrations and responsiveness toward IL-1? were quantitatively compared between hepatocytes and macrophages. In macrophages, the absolute p38<sup>MAPK</sup> and MK2 concentration was significantly higher. Finally, in line with experimental observations, the mathematical model predicted a significantly higher half-maximal effective concentration for IL-1?-induced pathway activation in macrophages compared with hepatocytes, underscoring the importance of cell type-specific differences in pathway regulation.
Project description:Infection with Shiga toxin (STx)-producing bacteria can progress to a toxemic, extraintestinal injury cascade known as haemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS), the leading cause of acute renal failure in children. Mounting evidence suggests that STx activates stress response pathways in susceptible cells and has implicated the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. More importantly, some of the pathology associated with HUS is believed to be a result of a STx-induced inflammatory response. From a siRNA screen of the human kinome adapted to a high-throughput format, we found that knock-down of the MAPK-activated protein kinase 2 (MK2), a downstream target of the p38 MAPK, protected against Shiga toxicity. Further characterization of the in vitro role of MK2 revealed that STx activates the p38-MK2 stress response pathway in both p38- and MK2-dependent manners in two distinct cell lines. MK2 activation was specific to damage to the ribosome by an enzymatically active toxin and did not result from translational inhibition per se. Genetic and chemical inhibition of MK2 significantly decreased the inflammatory response to STx. These findings suggest that MK2 inhibition might play a valuable role in decreasing the immuopathological component of STx-mediated disease.
Project description:MK5 (mitogen-activated protein kinase [MAPK]-activated protein kinase 5), also designated PRAK (p38-regulated and -activated kinase), was deleted from mice by homologous recombination. Although no MK5 full-length protein and kinase activity was detected in the MK5 knockout mice, the animals were viable and fertile and did not display abnormalities in tissue morphology or behavior. In addition, these mice did not show increased resistance to endotoxic shock or decreased lipopolysaccharide-induced cytokine production. Hence, MK5 deletion resulted in a phenotype very different from the complex inflammation-impaired phenotype of mice deficient in MK2, although MK2 and MK5 exhibit evolutional, structural, and apparent extensive functional similarities. To explain this discrepancy, we used wild-type cells and embryonic fibroblasts from both MK2 and MK5 knockout mice as controls to reexamine the mechanism of activation, the interaction with endogenous p38 MAPK, and the substrate specificity of both enzymes. In contrast to MK2, which shows interaction with and chaperoning properties for p38 MAPK and which is activated by extracellular stresses such as arsenite or sorbitol treatment, endogenous MK5 did not show these properties. Furthermore, endogenous MK5 is not able to phosphorylate Hsp27 in vitro and in vivo. We conclude that the differences between the phenotypes of MK5- and MK2-deficient mice result from clearly different functional properties of both enzymes.
Project description:Mechanical ventilation, a fundamental therapy for acute lung injury, worsens pulmonary vascular permeability by exacting mechanical stress on various components of the respiratory system causing ventilator associated lung injury. We postulated that MK2 activation via p38 MAP kinase induced HSP25 phosphorylation, in response to mechanical stress, leading to actin stress fiber formation and endothelial barrier dysfunction. We sought to determine the role of p38 MAP kinase and its downstream effector MK2 on HSP25 phosphorylation and actin stress fiber formation in ventilator associated lung injury. Wild type and MK2(-/-) mice received mechanical ventilation with high (20 ml/kg) or low (7 ml/kg) tidal volumes up to 4 hrs, after which lungs were harvested for immunohistochemistry, immunoblotting and lung permeability assays. High tidal volume mechanical ventilation resulted in significant phosphorylation of p38 MAP kinase, MK2, HSP25, actin polymerization, and an increase in pulmonary vascular permeability in wild type mice as compared to spontaneous breathing or low tidal volume mechanical ventilation. However, pretreatment of wild type mice with specific p38 MAP kinase or MK2 inhibitors abrogated HSP25 phosphorylation and actin polymerization, and protected against increased lung permeability. Finally, MK2(-/-) mice were unable to phosphorylate HSP25 or increase actin polymerization from baseline, and were resistant to increases in lung permeability in response to HV(T) MV. Our results suggest that p38 MAP kinase and its downstream effector MK2 mediate lung permeability in ventilator associated lung injury by regulating HSP25 phosphorylation and actin cytoskeletal remodeling.
Project description:Activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) has a significant impact on cardiac gene expression, contractility, extracellular matrix remodeling, and inflammatory response in heart. The p38 kinase pathway also has a controversial role in cardiac hypertrophy. MAPK-activated protein kinase-2 (MK2) is a well-established p38 downstream kinase, yet its contribution to p38-mediated pathological response in heart has not been investigated.We examined the specific contribution of MK2 to the pathological remodeling induced by p38.We used a cardiomyocyte specific and inducible transgenic approach to determine the functional and molecular impact of acute activation of the p38 pathway in heart in either a MK2 wild-type or a MK2-null background. p38 activation in wild-type mice led to a rapid onset of lethal cardiomyopathy associated with cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, interstitial fibrosis, and contractile dysfunction. Inactivation of MK2 partially but significantly reduced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, improved contractile performance, and prevented early lethality. MK2 inactivation had no effect on the mRNA levels of hypertrophic marker genes or the proinflammatory gene cyclooxygenase (COX)-2. However, MK2 had a major role in COX-2 protein synthesis without affecting the mRNA level or protein stability.p38 activity in adult myocytes can contribute to pathological hypertrophy and remodeling in adult heart and that MK2 is an important downstream molecule responsible for specific features of p38-induced cardiac pathology.
Project description:IL-33 is an IL-1-related cytokine that can act as an alarmin when released from necrotic cells. Once released, it can target various immune cells including mast cells, innate lymphoid cells and T cells to elicit a Th2-like immune response. We show here that bone marrow-derived mast cells produce IL-13, IL-6, TNF, GM-CSF, CCL3 and CCL4 in response to IL-33 stimulation. Inhibition of the p38 MAPK, or inhibition or knockout of its downstream kinases MK2 and MK3, blocked the production of these cytokines in response to IL-33. The mechanism downstream of MK2/3 was cytokine specific; however, MK2 and MK3 were able to regulate TNF and GM-CSF mRNA stability. Previous studies in macrophages have shown that MK2 regulates mRNA stability via phosphorylation of the RNA-binding protein TTP (Zfp36). The regulation of cytokine production in mast cells was, however, independent of TTP. MK2/3 were able to phosphorylate the TTP-related protein Brf1 (Zfp36 l1) in IL-33-stimulated mast cells, suggesting a mechanism by which MK2/3 might control mRNA stability in these cells. In line with its ability to regulate in vitro IL-33-stimulated cytokine production, double knockout of MK2 and 3 in mice prevented neutrophil recruitment following intraperitoneal injection of IL-33.
Project description:TNF expression of macrophages is under stringent translational control that depends on the p38 MAPK/MK2 pathway and the AU-rich element (ARE) in the TNF mRNA. Here, we elucidate the molecular mechanism of phosphorylation-regulated translation of TNF. We demonstrate that translation of the TNF-precursor at the ER requires expression of the ARE-binding and -stabilizing factor human antigen R (HuR) together with either activity of the p38 MAPK/MK2 pathway or the absence of the ARE-binding and -destabilizing factor tristetraprolin (TTP). We show that phosphorylation of TTP by MK2 decreases its affinity to the ARE, inhibits its ability to replace HuR, and permits HuR-mediated initiation of translation of TNF mRNA. Since translation of TTP's own mRNA is also regulated by this mechanism, an intrinsic feedback control of the inflammatory response is ensured. The phosphorylation-regulated TTP/HuR exchange at target mRNAs provides a reversible switch between unstable/non-translatable and stable/efficiently translated mRNAs.