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The c-Jun amino-terminal kinases (JNKs)/stress-activated protein kinases (SAPKs) play a crucial role in stress responses in mammalian cells. The mechanism underlying this pathway in the hematopoietic system is unclear, but it is a key in understanding the molecular basis of blood cell differentiation. We have cloned a novel protein kinase, termed hematopoietic progenitor kinase 1 (HPK1), that is expressed predominantly in hematopoietic cells, including early progenitor cells. HPK1 is related distantly to the p21(Cdc42/Rac1)-activated kinase (PAK) and yeast STE20 implicated in the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascade. Expression of HPK1 activates JNK1 specifically, and it elevates strongly AP-1-mediated transcriptional activity in vivo. HPK1 binds and phosphorylates MEKK1 directly, whereas JNK1 activation by HPK1 is inhibited by a dominant-negative MEKK1 or MKK4/SEK mutant. Interestingly, unlike PAK65, HPK1 does not contain the small GTPase Rac1/Cdc42-binding domain and does not bind to either Rac1 or Cdc42, suggesting that HPK1. activation is Rac1/Cdc42-independent. These results indicate that HPK1 is a novel functional activator of the JNK/SAPK signaling pathway.
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Protein Aliases: EC 18.104.22.168; Hematopoietic progenitor kinase; hematopoietic progenitor kinase 1; MAPK/ERK kinase kinase kinase 1; MEK kinase kinase 1; MEKKK 1; Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase kinase kinase 1
Gene Aliases: HPK1; MAP4K1
UniProt ID: (Human) Q92918
Entrez Gene ID: (Human) 11184