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Logo of jcinvestThe Journal of Clinical InvestigationCurrent IssueArchiveSubscriptionAbout the Journal
 
J Clin Invest. 1995 February; 95(2): 803–810.
PMCID: PMC295558

Activation of Jun kinase is an early event in hepatic regeneration.

Abstract

Compensatory hepatic regeneration after partial hepatectomy (PH) is dependent upon the extent of resection. This study analyzes the regulation of the AP-1 transcription factor c-Jun during hepatic regeneration. There is a progressive increase in c-jun mRNA levels after sham operation, one-third PH, and two-thirds PH. A concomitant increase in AP-1 binding activity is also observed. The c-Jun protein is a major constituent of the AP-1 complex in quiescent and early regenerating liver. The activity of c-Jun nuclear kinase (JNK), which phosphorylates the activation domain of the c-Jun protein, is markedly stimulated after one-third PH. JNK1 or an immunologically related kinase is a constituent of this stimulated JNK activity after PH. When primary cultures of adult rat hepatocytes are incubated with epidermal growth factor or transforming growth factor-alpha, AP-1 transcriptional activity is increased and the activation domain of the c-Jun protein is further potentiated. Phosphopeptide mapping of the endogenous c-Jun protein in proliferating cultured hepatocytes demonstrates phosphorylation of the c-Jun activation domain. Combining the results of these in vivo and culture studies, we conclude that the minimal stimulation of one-third PH activates JNK, which phosphorylates the c-Jun activation domain in hepatocytes, resulting in enhanced transcription of AP-1-dependent genes.

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