Activation of the p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase by type I interferons

Shahab Uddin, Beata Majchrzak, Joanna Woodson, Pony Arunkumar, Yazan Alsayed, Richard Pine, Peter R. Young, Eleanor N. Fish, Leonidas C. Platanias*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

207 Scopus citations


The p38 mitogen-activated protein (Map) kinase plays a critical role in the generation of signals in response to stress stimuli, but its role in interferon (IFN) signaling and its potential regulatory role in the activation of Jak-signal transducer and activator of transcription (Stat) pathway are not known. In the present study, we provide evidence that the p38 Map kinase is rapidly phosphorylated and activated during treatment of cells with Type I interferons (IFNα and IFNβ). Furthermore, the Type I IFN- dependent activation of p38 regulates induction of the catalytic domains of MapKap kinase-2 and MapKap kinase-3, strongly suggesting the existence of an IFNα signaling cascade activated downstream of the p38 kinase. The engagement of this pathway in interferon signaling plays a critical role in interferon-dependent transcriptional regulation, as evidenced by the fact that inhibition of p38 activation results in abrogation of interferon- dependent gene transcription via interferon-stimulated response elements. Interestingly, inhibition of the kinase activity of the p38 blocks IFNα- induced gene transcription without inhibiting DNA binding or tyrosine phosphorylation of Stat proteins, suggesting that the p38 pathway acts in cooperation with the Stat pathway. Thus, the p38 kinase signaling cascade is activated by the Type I interferon receptor and plays a critical role in interferon signaling and interferon-dependent transcriptional regulation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)30127-30131
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number42
StatePublished - Oct 15 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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