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Nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappa-B) is a ubiquitous transcription factor and an essential mediator of gene expression during activation of immune and inflammatory responses. NF-kappa-B mediates the expression of a great variety of genes in response to extracellular stimuli. NF-kappa-B associates with Ikappa-B proteins in the cell cytoplasm, which inhibit NF-kappa-B activity. Ikappa-B is phosphorylated by Ikappa-B kinase (IKK) complex that contains IKK-a, IKK-b, and IKK-gamma. A novel molecule that associates with and activates IKK was recently identified and designated CIKS (for connection to IKK and SAPK/JNK) and Act1 (for NF-kappa-B activator 1). CIKS directly interacts with IKK-gamma. CIKS/Act1 also activates activating transcription factor (ATF) and activator protein 1 (AP-1) through Jun kinase (JNK). These results indicate that CIKS/Act1 is involved in the inflammation and stress responses. CIKS/Act1 is ubiquitously expressed in human tissues.
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