Inhibition of membrane depolarisation-induced transcriptional activity of cyclic AMP response element binding protein (CREB) by the dual-leucine-zipper-bearing kinase in a pancreatic islet beta cell line
p38/CSBP, a subgroup member of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) superfamily molecules, is known to be activated by proinflammatory cytokines and environmental stresses. We report here that p38 is specifically activated by signals that lead to interleukin-2 (IL-2) production in T lymphocytes. A p38 activator MKK6 was also markedly activated by the same stimulation. Pretreatment of cells with SB203580, a specific inhibitor of p38, as well as expression of a dominant-negative mutant of MKK6, suppressed the transcriptional activation of the IL-2 promoter. We also demonstrated that MKK7, a recently described MAPK kinase family member, plays a major role in the activation of stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK)/c-Jun NH2-terminal kinase (JNK) in T lymphocytes. Moreover, a dominant-negative mutant of MKK7 abrogated the transcriptional activation of the distal nuclear factor of activated T cells response element in the IL-2 promoter. Cyclosporin A, a potent immunosuppressant, inhibited activation of both p38 and SAPK/JNK pathways but not the MAPK/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway. Our results indicate that both MKK6 to p38 and MKK7 to SAPK/JNK signaling pathways are activated in a cyclosporin A-sensitive manner and contribute to IL-2 gene expression in T lymphocytes.