ASK family proteins in stress response and disease

Mol Biotechnol. 2007 Sep;37(1):13-8. doi: 10.1007/s12033-007-0053-x.


Cells are continuously exposed to reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by aerobic metabolism. Excessively generated ROS causes severe dysfunctions to cells as oxidative stress. On the other hand, there is increasing evidence that ROS plays important roles as a signaling intermediate that induces a wide variety of cellular responses such as proliferation, differentiation, senescence, and apoptosis. To transmit physiological ROS-mediated signals and to adapt to oxidative stress, cells are equipped with various intracellular signal transduction systems, represented by mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) cascades. Apoptosis signal-regulating kinase 1 (ASK1) is an upstream regulator of the stress-activated MAPK cascades and has been shown to play critical roles in ROS-mediated cellular responses. Here, we highlight the roles of members of the ASK family, which consists of ASK1 and newly characterized ASK2, in ROS signaling with their possible involvement in human diseases.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease / etiology*
  • Humans
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinase 5 / metabolism*
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases / metabolism*
  • Oxidative Stress*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism*


  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinase 5
  • MAP Kinase Kinase Kinases
  • MAP kinase kinase kinase 6