Inhibition of JNK activation through NF-kappaB target genes

Nature. 2001 Nov 15;414(6861):313-7. doi: 10.1038/35104568.


The proinflammatory cytokine tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) regulates immune responses, inflammation and programmed cell death (apoptosis). The ultimate fate of a cell exposed to TNF-alpha is determined by signal integration between its different effectors, including IkappaB kinase (IKK), c-Jun N-terminal protein kinase (JNK) and caspases. Activation of caspases is required for apoptotic cell death, whereas IKK activation inhibits apoptosis through the transcription factor NF-kappaB, whose target genes include caspase inhibitors. JNK activates the transcription factor c-Jun/AP-1, as well as other targets. However, the role of JNK activation in apoptosis induced by TNF-alpha is less clear. It is unknown whether any crosstalk occurs between IKK and JNK, and, if so, how it affects TNF-alpha-induced apoptosis. We investigated this using murine embryonic fibroblasts that are deficient in either the IKKbeta catalytic subunit of the IKK complex or the RelA/p65 subunit of NF-kappaB. Here we show that in addition to inhibiting caspases, the IKK/NF-kappaB pathway negatively modulates TNF-alpha-mediated JNK activation, partly through NF-kappaB-induced X-chromosome-linked inhibitor of apoptosis (XIAP). This negative crosstalk, which is specific to TNF-alpha signalling and does not affect JNK activation by interleukin-1 (IL-1), contributes to inhibition of apoptosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cycloheximide / pharmacology
  • Enzyme Activation
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • I-kappa B Kinase
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Mice
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism
  • NF-kappa B / physiology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology*
  • X-Linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein


  • NF-kappa B
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Proteins
  • Transcription Factor RelA
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • X-Linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Protein
  • XIAP protein, human
  • Cycloheximide
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • CHUK protein, human
  • Chuk protein, mouse
  • I-kappa B Kinase
  • IKBKB protein, human
  • IKBKE protein, human
  • Ikbkb protein, mouse
  • Ikbke protein, mouse
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases