Competition between members of the tribbles pseudokinase protein family shapes their interactions with mitogen activated protein kinase pathways

Sci Rep. 2016 Sep 7;6:32667. doi: 10.1038/srep32667.


Spatio-temporal regulation of intracellular signalling networks is key to normal cellular physiology; dysregulation of which leads to disease. The family of three mammalian tribbles proteins has emerged as an important controller of signalling via regulating the activity of mitogen activated protein kinases (MAPK), the PI3-kinase induced signalling network and E3 ubiquitin ligases. However, the importance of potential redundancy in the action of tribbles and how the differences in affinities for the various binding partners may influence signalling control is currently unclear. We report that tribbles proteins can bind to an overlapping set of MAPK-kinases (MAPKK) in live cells and dictate the localisation of the complexes. Binding studies in transfected cells reveal common regulatory mechanisms and suggest that tribbles and MAPKs may interact with MAPKKs in a competitive manner. Computational modelling of the impact of tribbles on MAPK activation suggests a high sensitivity of this system to changes in tribbles levels, highlighting that these proteins are ideally placed to control the dynamics and balance of activation of concurrent signalling pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding, Competitive
  • Enzyme Activators / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism*
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Subcellular Fractions / enzymology


  • Enzyme Activators
  • Protein-Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases