Menin uncouples Elk-1, JunD and c-Jun phosphorylation from MAP kinase activation

Oncogene. 2002 Sep 19;21(42):6434-45. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1205822.


Menin, a nuclear protein encoded by the tumor suppressor gene MEN1, interacts with the AP-1 transcription factor JunD and inhibits its transcriptional activity. In addition, overexpression of Menin counteracts Ras-induced tumorigenesis. We show that Menin inhibits ERK-dependent phosphorylation and activation of both JunD and the Ets-domain transcription factor Elk-1. We also show that Menin represses the inducible activity of the c-fos promoter. Furthermore, Menin expression inhibits Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK)-mediated phosphorylation of both JunD and c-Jun. Kinase assays show that Menin overexpression does not interfere with activation of either ERK2 or JNK1, suggesting that Menin acts at a level downstream of MAPK activation. An N-terminal deletion mutant of Menin that cannot inhibit JunD phosphorylation by JNK, can still repress JunD phosphorylation by ERK2, suggesting that Menin interferes with ERK and JNK pathways through two distinct inhibitory mechanisms. Taken together, our data suggest that Menin uncouples ERK and JNK activation from phosphorylation of their nuclear targets Elk-1, JunD and c-Jun, hence inhibiting accumulation of active Fos/Jun heterodimers. This study provides new molecular insights into the tumor suppressor function of Menin and suggests a mechanism by which Menin may interfere with Ras-dependent cell transformation and oncogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases*
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 4
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinase 1*
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases / pharmacology
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / pharmacology
  • Neoplasm Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Phosphorylation
  • Plasmids
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / pharmacology
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factor AP-1 / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transcriptional Activation
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-1


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • ELK1 protein, human
  • MEN1 protein, human
  • Neoplasm Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-fos
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-jun
  • Transcription Factor AP-1
  • Transcription Factors
  • ets-Domain Protein Elk-1
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase
  • Glutathione Transferase
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Calcium-Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinases
  • JNK Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinase 1
  • MAP3K1 protein, human
  • MAP Kinase Kinase 4
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase Kinases