p38 alpha- and DYRK1A-dependent phosphorylation of caspase-9 at an inhibitory site in response to hyperosmotic stress

Anne Seifert, Paul R. Clarke (Lead / Corresponding author)

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    The cysteine aspartyl protease caspase-9 is a critical component of the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. Activation of caspase-9 is inhibited by phosphorylation at Thr125, which is catalysed by the mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) ERK1/2 in response to growth factors, by the cyclin-dependent protein kinase CDK1-cyclin B1 during mitosis, and at a basal level by the dual-specificity tyrosine-phosphorylation regulated protein kinase DYRK1A. Here we show that inhibitory phosphorylation of caspase-9 at Thr125 is induced in mammalian cells by hyperosmotic stress. This response does not require ERK1/2 or ERK5, but it is diminished by ablation of DYRK1A expression by siRNA or chemical inhibition of DYRK1A by harmine. Phosphorylation of Thr125 in response to hyperosmotic stress is also reduced by chemical inhibition of p38 MAPK and is abolished in p38 alpha(-/-) mouse embryonic fibroblasts. These results show that both DYRK1A and p38 alpha play roles in the inhibitory phosphorylation of caspase-9 following hyperosmotic stress and suggest a functional interaction between these protein kinases. Phosphorylation of caspase-9 at Thr125 may restrain apoptosis during the acute response to hyperosmotic stress. (C) 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1626-1633
    Number of pages8
    JournalCellular Signalling
    Issue number11
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2009


    • Osmotic stress
    • Protein kinase
    • Caspase
    • Apoptosis
    • p38
    • DYRK
    • CELLS
    • LENS

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